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April 2015 Archives

Whistleblower Claims Medicaid Fraud Resulted in Harm to Mothers and Babies

According to a recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit, two health care providers in Indiana put the health of mothers and newborns at risk in a Medicaid fraud scheme that placed the care of low-income, pregnant mothers in the hands of lower-cost midwives rather than doctors. The suit alleges that the health care providers -- IU Health and HealthNet Inc. -- then falsely billed Medicaid for doctor-provided services.

With $48.5 Million, Laboratories Settle Claims of Kickback Violations and Medicare Fraud

According to current figures from the U.S. Department of Justice, since 2009, legal claims brought under the federal False Claims Act have led to the recovery of more than $23.9 billion. About 63 percent of that -- more than $15.2 billion -- has been recovered from cases involving fraud against health care programs, including Medicaid and Medicare.

Harsh Threats Claimed in Whistleblower Suit against TPG Capital

A former managing director for private equity firm TPG Capital has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against his ex-employer. According to the suit, rather than using investor fees for their intended purpose -- to pay for the services of consultants and advisers -- TPG regularly used the fees to pay its own employees. This practice allows for double-billing by private equity employees, who bill once as a firm employee and again as a consultant to the companies in which the firm has invested.

Judge Dismisses Antitrust Suit Against DreamWorks, Disney

Legal claims are highly procedural and time-sensitive. To be successful, claims must be correctly processed and contain sufficient evidence to move the claim forward. The federal government and the states also have various statutes of limitations for different kinds of claims, and if you are party to a legal dispute, then your lawyer should be abreast of the relevant procedural requirements and statutes of limitations when advising you on your case.

The SEC Emphasizes Protection of Whistleblowers

The Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") has been investigating businesses for violations of Rule 21F-17, which provides whistleblowers with protections against retaliation by their employers. Specifically, the SEC is investigating companies "using confidentiality agreements to prevent employees from communicating with the SEC about potential securities law violations."1 Recently, the SEC settled a case against Kellogg, Brown & Root ("KBR"), a former Halliburton subsidiary, for using such contract language. While the SEC did not find that KBR ever enforced the illegal language in its confidentiality agreement, it found that the language could have a "potential chilling effect" and could discourage employees from bringing claims, in violation of SEC rules. As a result of the settlement, KBR agreed to pay $130,000 and change its employee confidentiality agreement to remove the detrimental language.2

Supreme Court to Review DirecTV Arbitration Clause

The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to DirecTV in DirecTV v. Imburgia, No. 14-462, 2015 WL 1280237 (U.S. Mar. 23, 2015), a case regarding arbitration clauses in customers' contracts. The plaintiffs allege that DirecTV did not disclose early termination fees to customers when entering into the contract.1 DirecTV has an arbitration clause in the contract, mandating, according to DirecTV, that consumer disputes be settled by a private arbitrator rather than in a court of law. Plaintiffs brought an action against DirecTV as a class action, and a California appellate court ruled to allow the class action suit to proceed, a decision that DirecTV appealed to the Supreme Court.2

Sprint to Pay Out $131 Million to Settle Investor Class-Action Lawsuit

Six years ago a group of investors brought a class-action lawsuit against Sprint, accusing the wireless carrier of fraudulently inflating bond and stock prices after the company merged with Nextel Communications in 2005. The lead plaintiffs claimed they were defrauded, with damages estimated at $1.079 billion.

Target Close to Settling Consumer Class Action Over Data Breach

In December 2014, Judge Magnuson, of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, issued a ruling allowing most of a class of plaintiffs' statutory and common law claims to stand in light of Defendant Target's Motion to Dismiss ("Motion")(2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167802). After that ruling, Target and plaintiffs did not take long to work out a settlement. On March 19, 2015, Judge Magnuson gave preliminary approval to a settlement that would require Target to pay $10 million to a class of approximately110 million people, in addition to attorneys' fees and other related settlement fees.1