FCA NOW

DOJ Demonstrates Continued Focus on Opioid Crisis with $600 Million Criminal and Civil Settlement Against Indivior Solutions, Indivior Inc., and Indivior plc

Vanessa J. Szalapski

The Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) most recent settlement with Indivior Solutions, Inc., Indivior Inc., and Indivior plc (together, “Indivior”) demonstrates not only that the DOJ is continuing its pursuit of claims and settlements related to the opioid crisis, but also that the DOJ is searching for creative penalties beyond large monetary payouts. In a July 24, 2020 press release, the DOJ announced a $600 million...

Another Escobar Exemplar: District of New Jersey Finds Materiality Lacking

Lindsey Schmidt

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed a qui tam action against Defendants Pioneer Education, LLC, Pioneer Education Manager, Inc., Jolie Health & Beauty Academy, and Joseph Visconti (collectively, “the Academy”) alleging violations of the False Claims Act (“FCA”), 31 U.S.C. § 3729-33. United States ex rel. Lampkin v. Pioneer Educ., LLC, No. 16-cv-1817, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136022...

The Granston Memo Strikes Again, but the Standards for Dismissal Remain Unclear

Donna Reuter

As has been emphasized with the disclosure of the “Granston Memo” in January 2018 and several cases since, the government may request dismissal of a qui tam action filed under the False Claims Act (“FCA”), 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq., in certain circumstances, and even over the relator’s objection and when the government has declined to intervene. Recently, the Southern District of New York...

Court Enters Judgment Totaling More Than $32 Million on Mississippi Jury’s $10.8 Million Verdict, Demonstrating Risks for Defendants Found Guilty of False Claims Act Violations at Trial

Siena Caruso

Shortly before COVID-19 halted jury proceedings across the United States, a Mississippi jury sided with the Government to return a $10.8 million verdict against Stone County Hospital and several affiliates for what the jury found were false Medicare claims submitted in violation of the False Claims Act (“FCA”). United States ex rel. Aldridge v. Corporate Management, Inc., et al., Case No. 1:16cv369-HTW-LRA (S.D. Miss.). In...

$4.47 Million False Claims Act Settlement Targets Set-Aside Contractors, Affiliates, and Even Third-Party Bonding Company

Caitlin Hull

Over three years after the filing of the initial sealed complaint, a New York-based construction company and several affiliates—including its bonding company—have agreed to pay a combined $4.47 million to settle a False Claims Act case alleging a decade-long scheme to fraudulently obtain federal contracts set aside for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concerns (“SDVOSBCs”) and small businesses operating in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (“HUBZones”). United...

False Claims Act Exposure for Beneficiaries of the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Relief Fund: Mitigating Risks of Ambiguous Terms & Conditions

Andrew Brantingham

I. Introduction The CARES Act allocated $100 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers, to be distributed by the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) through the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Relief Fund (or “Provider Relief Fund”). Many healthcare providers across the country have received payments from the Fund, beginning with an initial tranche of $30 billion distributed in...

Importer and Its Executives Pay $5.2 Million Under FCA for Evading U.S. Tariffs

Dave Townsend

An importer recently agreed to pay $5.2 million to settle a False Claims Act (“FCA”) case alleging evasion of antidumping duties (“AD”) on wooden bedroom furniture from China. The importer, Blue Furniture Solutions, LLC (now doing business through its successor, XMillenium LLC), allegedly imported merchandise into the United States using false descriptions and invoices that claimed the merchandise was outside the scope of the China...

Underwriter Failed to Meet Employer’s Expectations, and thus His FCA Retaliation Burden, at Least in the Eighth Circuit

Briana Al Taqatqa

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the Eastern District of Missouri’s dismissal of appellant’s retaliation claim under the False Claims Act, as well as his state law wrongful discharge claim and quasi-contract claims. The decision, Sherman v. Berkadia Commer. Mortg. LLC, No. 19-1373, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 11713 (8th Cir. Apr. 14, 2020), is yet another example of the...

Looking Ahead: Enforcement Actions for Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Related to COVID-19

John Marti

As the public health and economic responses to COVID-19 dominate the headlines and traditional government enforcement actions slow, anticipate a significant increase in government enforcement actions, internal investigations related to corporate fraud, and qui tam (whistleblower) actions in the coming months.  The CARES Act contains appropriations for tens of millions of dollars for agency inspector general enforcement.  Leaders in federal law enforcement are telling us...

$145 Million Settlement Shows the Depth of Government’s Effort to Combat Opioid Crisis and its Interest in Fraud Actions Against Electronic Health Records Companies

Vanessa J. Szalapski

Less than a year after United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan warned electronic health records (“EHR”) companies in a DOJ press release that they “should consider themselves on notice” following a $57.25 million FCA settlement with EHR software developer Greenway Health LLC, the DOJ announced in a recent press release a $145 million settlement with another EHR vendor, Practice Fusion, Inc.  The settlement includes $26...