FCA NOW

Court Examines Standard for Approval of Settlement of Qui Tam Over a Relator’s Objection

Betsy Sellers

The False Claims Act (FCA) allows plaintiffs/relators to bring qui tam actions, in which the government may then elect to intervene.  The FCA also provides that “[t]he Government may settle a [qui tam] action with the defendant notwithstanding the objections of the person initiating the action if the court determines, after a hearing, that the proposed settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable under all the...

Supreme Court Applies Escobar to Reinstate Implied Certification Suit Against Bank Based on Compliance With Fed Rules

Erik Ruda

On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, the Supreme Court summarily vacated the judgment in Bishop v. Wells Fargo & Co. and remanded the case to the Second Circuit in light of the Court’s recent decision in Universal Health Servs. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, which recognized the implied certification liability theory in FCA suits. In Bishop, the plaintiffs originally brought FCA claims against Wells Fargo,...

Alleging Improper Use of Funds Legitimately Obtained from the Government Insufficient to State FCA Retaliation Claim

Ben Kappelman

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas has dismissed an FCA retaliation claim brought by a nurse who claimed to have blown the whistle on misuse of funds at a hospital that received significant federal revenue. In Endicott v. Oakbend Medical Center, the nurse alleged she was fired after she complained that several hospital executives were using hospital employee time to enrich...

Northern District of Illinois Dismisses Whistleblower’s FCA Suit for Failing to Connect Allegations of Misconduct with Submission of False Claims

Nathan Ebnet

In United States ex rel. Keen v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., relator Janice Keen sued her former employer—the pharmaceutical company Teva—for violations of the FCA.  According to Ms. Keen, Teva trained its sales force to misleadingly promote and sell a medicine used to treat muscle spasms.  Ms. Keen alleged that Teva’s deceptive practices caused physicians to prescribe the medicine in situations for which it was...

First Circuit Rejects Fraud-on-the-FDA Theory of FCA Liability

Katherine Arnold

Affirming an earlier order handed down by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the First Circuit recently denied Plaintiff D’Agostino leave to amend his complaint, finding the proposed claims were futile. D’Agostino, et al. v. EV3, Inc. et al., 2016 WL 7422943 (1st Cir. Dec. 23, 2016).  D’Agostino’s complaint alleges False Claims Act (“FCA”) violations related to the Onyx and Axium medical...

OIG Creates New AKS Safe Harbors, Codifies Others

Neal N. Peterson

On January 6, 2017, two new safe harbors to the federal anti-kickback statute (the “AKS”) will become effective pursuant to a final rule published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (the “OIG”) on December 7, 2016. The final rule also codifies safe harbors for certain AKS exceptions and makes a technical correction to the existing safe...

Jury Verdict in Declined Civil FCA Action Need Not Bar Criminal Prosecution for Same Conduct

Betsy Sellers

The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act allow private citizens to file FCA claims on behalf of the government.  The government may elect to intervene in the action—or it may not.  The United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia held earlier this month that when the government does not intervene, it is a party in interest, but not a party to...

Supreme Court Concludes that Violation of FCA Seal Provision Does Not Necessarily Mandate Dismissal of Qui Tam Suits

Peter R. Mayer

The Supreme Court held yesterday that a violation of the False Claims Act’s seal provision does not mandate dismissal of a relator’s complaint.  Justice Kennedy authored the Court’s opinion in the unanimous 8-0 decision.  State Farm was accused of defrauding the government by falsely classifying wind damage caused by Hurricane Katrina as flood damage, which would allow State Farm’s costs to be covered by the...

Supreme Court Hears Argument About Violation of FCA Seal Provision

Peter R. Mayer

This month the Supreme Court heard oral argument in State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. United States ex rel. Rigsby, a case centered on allegations dating back to Hurricane Katrina.  The Fifth Circuit had previously upheld a jury verdict finding State Farm liable for $758,000 in damages based on a claim that State Farm defrauded the government.  Whistleblowers, including respondent Cori Rigsby, alleged that...

Omnicare Inc. Settles Kickback Allegations for $28 Million

Nicole Burgmeier

The United States Justice Department (DOJ) announced this week that Omnicare, Inc. (Omnicare), the largest nursing home pharmacy in the United States, will pay approximately $28 million dollars to resolve charges that it received kickbacks from Abbott Laboratories (Abbott) to promote Abbott’s anti-epileptic drug, Depakote, to nursing home patients. According to the press release, Omnicare, whose consultant pharmacists review nursing home resident’s medical charts and...