Category: Escobar

Justice Department Touts FY2019 False Claims Act Statistics as Evidence of Administration’s “High Priority” Against Fraud, but the Numbers Show Less of a Priority on Qui Tams

Kirk Schuler

Earlier this month, the United States Department of Justice issued a press release to announce recoveries of over $3 billion from False Claims Act cases in FY2019. In making the announcement, Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Civil Division emphasized, “The significant number of settlements and judgments obtained over the past year demonstrate the high priority this administration places on deterring fraud against the...

Escobar in Action: Physician-owners’ fraud claims against hospital defeated in Fifth Circuit appeal for lack of materiality

Siena Caruso

Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), which placed new limits on physician-owned hospitals, St. Luke’s Health System (“System”) took action to change one of its hospital’s ownership structures through a buy-out of the physicians’ partnership interests pursuant to the Texas Securities Act (“TSA”). The TSA allows rescission for the original price paid for a security, plus interest, in exchange for a release...

DOJ Levels False Claims Act at Pharmacies to Combat Opioid Crisis

Lauren Roso

This month the Department of Justice brought a “first of its kind” action against two pharmacies, their owner, and three pharmacists for allegedly dispensing and billing Medicare for prescriptions in violation of both the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the False Claims Act (FCA).  See United States v. Oakley Pharmacy, Inc., et al., No. 2:19-cv-00009 (M.D. Tenn).  The action, seeking both injunctive relief and civil...

Sixth Circuit: Timing of Physician Certification for In-Home Care Remains Material After Escobar

Ben Kappelman

A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit again revived an FCA suit against home-health services providers premised on the providers’ alleged improper procurement of physician medical necessity certifications supporting Medicare claims. In United States v. Brookdale Senior Living Communities, Inc., — F.3d —-, 2018 WL 2770598 (6th Cir. June 11, 2018), a nurse alleged she was hired by several...

Two Recent Justice Department Memoranda May Have Significant Consequences for Pending and Future False Claims Act Enforcement

Alex Hontos

In recent weeks, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued two memoranda that might change the calculus of False Claims Act (“FCA”) cases.  The memoranda at a minimum provide organizations with new—or at least invigorated—defenses to qui tam actions and civil enforcement matters. First, on January 10, Michael Granston, Director of DOJ’s Civil Frauds section, issued a memorandum encouraging DOJ trial attorneys to consider dismissing...

Applying Escobar’s Materiality Standard, Florida Federal Court Reverses $350 Million False Claims Act Verdict against a Nursing Home Operator

Alissa Smith

If the government does not take action and continues to pay for Medicare/Medicaid claims after it learns of non-compliance related to the claims, is the non-compliance material to the government’s decision to pay?  This is a question being answered in the negative by courts across the country, who have concluded that the government (or a qui tam relator) is not able to proceed under a...