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Judge Michael A. Chagares

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Confirmed April 4, 2006
  • Michael Chagares was confirmed on April 4, 2006, as Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The Third Circuit hears appeals from the federal district courts of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the Virgin Islands.
  • Before taking the bench, Judge Chagares was one of New Jersey’s premier appellate litigators. His distinguished record as a practicing attorney in the public and private sectors, including service as Chief of the Civil Division in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, demonstrates his outstanding qualifications to serve as a judge on the Third Circuit.
    • From 2004 until his appointment to the bench, Judge Chagares was a partner in the New Jersey law firm of Cole Schotz, where he focused on appellate litigation. He handled appellate and trial matters that included white-collar criminal defense, trademark litigation, and civil rights claims.
    • From 1990 to 2004, Judge Chagares served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark, New Jersey. He appeared in federal court on a daily basis and handled major items of litigation, including civil fraud prosecutions, immigration appeals, regulatory cases, civil rights complaints, and civil RICO actions where the United States sought relief.
    • During his tenure in the U.S. Attorney's office, Judge Chagares was promoted to Director of the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit in 1996, and in 1999, he was promoted to Chief of the Civil Division.
    • During his 14-year stint at the U.S Attorney’s office, he personally handled well over 100 matters before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In his capacity as Chief of the Civil Division, he supervised 22 AUSAs and kept a significant caseload himself.
  • As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Judge Chagares handled extremely complex matters that have provided him with invaluable experience.
    • He handled civil RICO cases against the International Boxing Federation and the Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees International Union that eliminated fraud and corruption from those organizations.
    • He was counsel on the largest recovery ever ($500 million) under the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, several of the largest recoveries under the Controlled Substances Act and one of the largest recoveries ever under both the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act. He also was responsible for having many millions of dollars returned to the Medicare trust through his successful handling of health care fraud matters.
    • He has handled matters as diverse as recovering damages and penalties from a supplier of substandard aircraft carrier parts; revoking a former Nazi slave-labor camp guard’s U.S. citizenship; seizing adulterated oxygen, drugs, blood pressure devices and latex surgical gloves; shutting down a fraudulent 9/11 charity; seizing two unlicensed “pirate” radio stations; and recovering for the U.S. District Court a large sculpture of an eagle that was part of the first U.S. Courthouse in New Jersey and was missing for over 65 years.
  • Judge Chagares has excellent academic credentials and professional training.
    • He served as a law clerk for the Honorable Morton Greenberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the court on which he now serves as a judge.
    • He received his B.A. from Gettysburg College in 1984. After graduation, he attended Seton Hall University School of Law, where he served as an editor of the Law Review. He graduated in 1987 with honors.
    • Judge Chagares has written a number of scholarly papers on civil procedure and practice, qui tam litigation, and employment discrimination.
    • His accomplishments in the academic field include stints as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Seton Hall Law School, where he taught Appellate Advocacy and Trial Practice.
  • Judge Chagares has a wide range of experience in other legal activities.
    • He has served as a mediator and arbitrator for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
    • He has been a member of the Lawyer’s Advisory Committee of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
    • He served as a Hearing Officer for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.