Geissler v. Sterling

District of South Carolina.

GBB lawyers contributed to this class action lawsuit, filed against the Department of Correction, alleging that South Carolina prisoners recieved inadequate testing and treatment for hepatitis C (HCV). The complaint accuses DOC director Bryan Sterling of “deliberate indifference” by neglecting to implement regular testing and effective treatment protocols, because it would have incurred a significant cost to the DOC budget. The original plaintiffs, three inmates in SC state prison, argued that the DOC had violated their 8th Amendment Rights by failing to provide proper treatment. Further, the South Carolina DOC written policy states that HCV is not tested for “except under limited circumstances,” which runs contrary to CDC guidelines.

Lockheed Martin, $5 million

United States, ex rel. John David Tillson, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al.,
Western District of Kentucky.

Lawyers with our firm represented a whistleblower in a suit alleging that Lockheed Martin Corporation and its subsidiaries violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the False Claims Act then illegally billed the Department of Energy. The companies were accused of mischaracterizing their compliance with the RCRA while operating the Padukah Gasseous Diffusion Plant in Padukah, Kentucky, then knowingly submitting false claims for payment for contracts relating to the plant. The Complaint contends specifically that Lockheed Martin violated the RCRA by mismanaging, misreporting, and improperly handling the disposal of waste as intended by the law.

Humana Inc., $7 million

U.S., ex rel. Graves v. Plaza Med. Centers Corp., Humana Inc., and Michael Cavanaugh,
Southern District of Florida.

Our attorneys contributed to a qui tam action alleging that defendant Michael Cavanaugh, a doctor at Plaza Medical Centers Corporation (PMC), over-diagnosed patients with illness or complications then fraudulently billed Medicare for services. Cavanaugh’s false Medicare claims led Medicare to increase monthly payments to Humana, Inc., a plan administrator, which would then distribute the funds to Cavanaugh and other defendants.

Amgen, $24.9 million

U.S. ex rel. Kurnik v. Amgen, Inc., et al.,
District of South Carolina.

Firm attorneys represented Relator Frank Kurnik, in a case where pharmaceutical giant Amgen was alleged to have paid kickbacks to long-term care pharmacies to place elderly patients in nursing homes across the nation on the company’s anemia drug, Aranesp, often without concern for the patient’s best interest or therapeutic appropriateness.  The drug, one of several Erythropoetin stimulating agents (ESAs) on the market, was developed to treat patients with severe anemia whose lives were endangered from receiving frequent blood transfusions.  Amgen entered into a $24.9 million settlement with the government to resolve these claims.

Pfizer (Rapamune), $257.4 million

U.S. ex rel. Sandler and Paris v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer, Inc.,
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The firm’s attorneys served as lead counsel for two whistleblowers who alleged marketing abuses of Pfizer subsidiary Wyeth Pharmaceutical’s immunosuppressant drug Rapamune. After initially declining to participate in the case, the Justice Department ultimately intervened after being presented with the strength of the evidence uncovered by the Firm’s attorneys and their clients. The case culminated in a $257.4 million settlement, one of the largest False Claims Act recoveries for a single drug. The settlement agreement noted the broad scope of Wyeth’s alleged unlawful marketing of Rapamune, including the knowing promotion of Rapamune for uses that were not approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company also pled guilty to a violation of the Food Drug and Cosmetics Act and entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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