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New Partners: Whistleblower Attorneys Hamsa Mahendranathan, Sarah “Poppy” Alexander, and Ari Yampolsky Elevated at Constantine Cannon

Posted  December 8, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that three of the most talented attorneys in the Constantine Cannon Whistleblower Group have been elevated to partnership in the firm.  All three have excelled in every category – writing, strategizing, expert work, client relations, co-counsel relations, opposing counsel relations, oral advocacy, public speaking, associate mentoring, business development, and case leadership.  Moreover, each of them has played a substantial role to secure a series of record-breaking whistleblower victories, including unprecedented rewards for the firm’s whistleblower clients, over the past two years, including:

Finally, all three are wonderful colleagues who are dedicated to the health and growth of Constantine Cannon.

Hamsa Mahendranathan joined the firm in 2015 and has worked for many years across practices, including major whistleblower and antitrust litigations, several SEC whistleblower cases, pro bono work, and more.  Hamsa graduated from Columbia Law School, where she was a Wien National Scholar, a Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court Semifinalist, and a Moot Court Editor.  Hamsa interned for the Honorable Theodore H. Katz (Ret.), a United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of New York, and spent a summer representing indigent defendants sentenced to death in Louisiana at the Capital Appeals Project.  Hamsa holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Economics and International Studies and a minor in Italian.

Hamsa’s outstanding legal and litigation skills, along with her sharp analytical mind, have made her an invaluable member of many case teams over the years.  Hamsa played a central role in securing a record settlement with Visiting Nurse Service of New York, the largest not-for-profit home health care agency in the country.  This was the second-largest reported False Claims Act settlement of any home health care case, and a matter in which Hamsa and the firm took on without government intervention.  Hamsa is used to succeeding in non-intervened cases; she also played a pivotal role in the firm’s victory over Anham FZCO for violating Iranian sanctions prohibitions on behalf of her whistleblower client, another case in which the government declined to intervene.  Not to mention her work on the firm’s recent $90 million settlement against Sutter Health.

Hamsa’s work, however, is not limited to commercial litigation.  She has also represented several clients in successful pro bono matters, including one in which Hamsa secured asylum for a gay Nigerian man facing persecution in his home country because of his sexuality.  She is a founding member of the firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.  She is also a member of the Taxpayers Against Fraud (TAF) President’s Council, for which she was hand-selected by TAF’s president, and is a member of the TAF Pharmaceutical Fraud Subcommittee. She is also a member of the Federal Bar Council’s Inn of Court.

Sara “Poppy” Alexander joined the firm in 2016. Poppy graduated from Harvard Law School, where she was the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and an active member of the Harvard Human Rights Clinic. Poppy spent one of her law school summers at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, fighting for abortion rights and the rights of pregnant women. After law school, Poppy clerked for the Honorable Martha Craig Daughtrey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Nashville, TN. Poppy holds an M.A. in Political Theory from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. from Yale College.

Poppy drafted the complaint in Constantine Cannon’s bid-rigging case against the five largest oil companies in South Korea for overcharging the U.S. government for oil.  When the case settled the government offered to pay an amount below the statutory minimum of 15%, so Poppy took the matter to court.  Thanks to Poppy’s skillful briefing, the court awarded 23%.  That was the highest percentage award in a case this large in the history of the federal False Claims Act.  Poppy also was a central player in the firm’s recent Sutter settlement, taking a leading role in defeating Sutter’s efforts to dismiss the case.

Poppy has established herself as a leading voice on the rise of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (“SPACS”), an exotic new investment vehicle that is fraught with the potential for abuse and has been targeted by the SEC for enforcement priority.  Through her business development efforts, she filed what is likely one of the first whistleblower SPAC submissions to the SEC.  She also has filed multiple cases under the False Claims Act that involve human rights abuses, a groundbreaking use of the Act to punish and deter shocking misconduct.  She has written several amicus briefs on human rights matters and collaborated on others.

Ari Yampolsky joined the firm in 2015.  He graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Irvine School of Law, where he served as a senior editor for the UC Irvine Law Review.  He earned his B.A. in Philosophy and English from Wesleyan University in 2000.  In between college and law school, Ari worked for the Service Employees International Union, helping long-term-care employees organize unions and lobby state officials to ensure that government funds were used to support living-wage jobs.  After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Kevin Hunter Sharp in the Middle District of Tennessee and then for the Honorable Jane Branstetter Stranch in the Sixth Circuit.

Ari has taken a leading role in all his matters, including helping secure the landmark settlement in the On the Go Wireless case.  He also was a central player in the Hyundai/Kia Motor Vehicle Safety matter, which resulted in the largest penalties ever assessed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  In that matter, Ari also secured the maximum award for the firm’s client, the first whistleblower award ever made under the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act.  Ari was instrumental in building the firm’s motor vehicle safety practice to the point where the firm is the clear market leader in this area with a half-dozen matters pending before NHTSA.

Ari was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Constitution Society’s Bay Area Lawyer Chapter until 2020.  He also served as a member of the City of Berkeley’s Police Review Commission, which advises city officials on police policies and hears citizen allegations of officer misconduct.  Ari continues to volunteer as a supervising attorney in the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center’s Workers’ Rights Clinic.  And if all of this wasn’t enough, he also is fluent in Russian.

We are proud to have these three outstanding lawyers join as partners of Constantine Cannon’s whistleblower practice.

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