Dan Alban is a Senior Attorney and the co-director of IJ’s National Initiative to End Forfeiture Abuse. He has served as an attorney with the Institute for Justice since September 2010, and was a summer law clerk at IJ in the summer of 2004.
Dan litigates cutting-edge constitutional cases nationwide and has secured numerous court victories in federal and state courts for victims of civil forfeiture, property owners fighting eminent domain abuse, and entrepreneurs challenging occupational licensing. Dan has successfully represented civil forfeiture clients in obtaining the unconditional return of all of their seized property in federal and state court cases arising out of seizures in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming done by agencies ranging from IRS, DEA, FBI, and CBP to the Philadelphia Police Department, the Phoenix Police Department, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Department, and the Wyoming Highway Patrol.
Dan is currently the lead attorney in two of IJ’s nationwide class action lawsuits challenges abusive forfeiture practices by federal agencies. One case seeks to end ongoing TSA and DEA airport seizures of domestic air travelers and their cash without probable cause, based solely on travelers legally traveling with what the agencies consider to be a “large” or “suspicious” amount of cash.The other case challenges abusive civil forfeiture practices by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including demanding that property owners waive their rights by signing a hold harmless agreement before CBP will return property that it is legally required to return.
Dan also served as counsel in IJ’s federal class action lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia challenging numerous due process violations by Philadelphia’s civil forfeiture machine, including seizing homes from innocent people and pressuring them to waive their constitutional rights before allowing them to return to their homes, and requiring property owners seeking the return of their property to appear at a “courtroom” run by prosecutors.
Dan was the lead attorney in Loving v. IRS, representing three independent tax preparers who successfully challenged the IRS’s unlawful attempt to impose a nationwide licensing scheme on tax preparers. After arguing the case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Dan secured a unanimous affirmance for his clients. For his success in litigating that case, Dan was named a 2013 Tax Person of the Year by Tax Notes. Dan also represents African hair braiders in challenges to irrational cosmetology licensing requirements.
Dan’s writing has been published by outlets including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The New York Times, among others. He has testified about eminent domain abuse before the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives on several occasions. His opinions and views on legal issues have been featured in numerous radio and television programs, including CNBC’s The Kudlow Report and CSPAN’s Washington Journal.
Before joining IJ, Dan practiced employment law in the Tysons Corner office of Littler Mendelson P.C., with a focus on employment litigation in both federal courts and Virginia state court. Prior to that, he served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Dan started his legal career in private practice at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, DC, working primarily in telecommunications litigation and mass media regulatory law.
Dan received his law degree cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2006, where he was an Executive Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. From 2000 to 2003, Dan worked at the Institute for Humane Studies in Arlington, Virginia. In 2000, Dan earned his undergraduate degree in Political Rhetoric from Berry College in Rome, Georgia. Dan originally hails from Nampa, Idaho.
Dan is a member of the bar in Virginia and DC.
When the government seizes property from people without justification, and they have to spend money to get their property back, they deserve to be made whole.
Brian Moore fought to get his property back from the federal government and he won. In 2021, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents seized $8,500 in cash from him at Atlanta’s airport while he was waiting…
Chasidy Decker is a native to the Boise area who wants to live in the tiny home that suits her.
Three braiders in Idaho challenged state requirements to spend thousands of dollars and a year of their lives for an unnecessary license.
Armored Car Company Sues Federal Law Enforcement and a California Sheriff After Series of Illegal Roadside Seizures
An armored car company sued after a California sheriff teamed up with federal law enforcement to take proceeds from legal cannabis businesses.
DEA agents took Kermit Warren’s life savings from him when he was traveling to purchase a new truck for his tow truck business. They never charged Kermit with a crime. With IJ’s help, Kermit was…
Trucking Company Owner Living in Charlotte Fights for $39,500 Police Took from Him at Phoenix Airport
Jerry Johnson owns a small trucking business. He traveled with cash to buy a new truck for his business when a detective approached him and took his money. He was left without his money or…
Case asks court to end “policing for profit” and restore South Carolinians’ expectation that they are innocent until proven guilty
South Carolina’s civil forfeiture laws violate the rights of all South Carolinians to be free from excessive fines and fees. Caught up in this was Travis Green who had his money seized. Now, he is…
Retired railroad engineer Terry Rolin’s life savings were seized by the government, but he hasn’t been charged with any crime. Now he and his daughter are working with IJ to get his money back and…
Miami Woman Appeals to the Supreme Court to Get Back Every Dollar Federal Agents Wrongly Took From Her
Miladis Salgado returned home one day to find the DEA had seized her life savings, even though she did nothing wrong. Her money was eventually given back to her, but the government should not be…
A Pennsylvania law prevented Amanda and Courtney from earning an honest living because of unrelated criminal records. After IJ stepped in to defend their rights, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled this law was unconstitutional.
Anthonia Nwaorie, a registered nurse and grandmother from Texas was flying to see family in Nigeria when Customs and Border Patrol took her life savings without ever charging her with a crime. So, she joined…
Wyoming law enforcement pressures drivers to sign a form “giving” their cash to law enforcement agencies and waiving any right to court proceedings.
IJ successfully represented Phil Parhamovich, a musician from Madison, Wisconsin who had his life savings of $91,800 seized by Wyoming law enforcement during a traffic stop on I-80 near Cheyenne. Phil was never charged, much…
Fighting the Philadelphia Forfeiture Machine: Philadelphia Deprives People of Their Rights While Trying to Forfeit and Profit from Their Property
Police and prosecutors use civil forfeiture to strip thousands of Americans of their rights and property. Nowhere is the problem more rampant than in Philadelphia.
If you want to braid hair for a living in Missouri, you must spend thousands of dollars on at least 1,500 hours of cosmetology training that teaches you nothing about African-style hair braiding.
An Atlantic City, N.J., man is fighting to save his family home from a state agency’s eminent domain abuse.
Without warning, the federal government used civil forfeiture to seize all of the money from the Dehkos’ store bank account—more than $35,000—even though they’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.
IJ successfully challenged the IRS’s authority to license tax return preparers. If the licensing scheme had not been struck down, some 350,000 tax return preparers would have been burdened by the new regulations, much to…
After decades of keeping two-thirds of the city under a bogus “blight” designation, National City, Calif., applied to renew the blight label to prevent it from expiring. That renewal would have reauthorized the city to…
Dan's Amicus Briefs
Nelson v. City of Rochester
U.S. Supreme Court