5-19-11 – California Attorney Genera, Kamala D. Harris, announced a $241 million settlement with Quest Diagnostics, which is the state’s largest medical lab test provider. The settlement, which represents the largest recovery in the history of California’s False Claims Act, results from a 2005 whistleblower lawsuit alleging that Quest Diagnostics fraudulently overcharged the state’s Medi-Cal program for over 15 years and gave illegal kickbacks in the form of discounted or free testing to doctors, hospitals and clinics that referred Medi-Cal patients. Medi-Cal is the Medicaid program in the State of California. $171 million, from the settlement, will go to the state – a number that will encourage many states to be receptive to FCA lawsuits.
5-18-11 – The Supreme Court recently held, in Schindler Elevator Corp. vs. U.S., that private citizens cannot file qui tam lawsuits that rely upon information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The majority opinion reasoned that the suit, which was based on information from the Department of Labor (through the FOIA request), was precluded under the public disclosure bar of the False Claims Act, which prohibits bring suits based on public information unless the person bringing the action is an original source of the information. The goal of such a bar is to prevent people from just submitting FOIA requests on many agencies to see who is out of compliance and then file a qui tam action under the FCA. Justice Ginsburg, dissenting, argued that the suit was based on relator’s observations and experience, and that the FOIA request should not be considered an administrative action prohibited under the FCA.
Want reports of possible violations to go through compliance departments first, then the SEC; Dems say that’s backwards
Verizon, one of America’s largest mobile carriers, settled allegations stemming from a False Claims Act case that it overcharged the federal government. The settlement will cost Verizon a total of $93.5 million. The whistleblower, Stephen Shea, filed the case in 2007, but it has been under seal until early April 2011.
A former VP and associate general counsel for GSK, is back in the courthouse. After being indicted for obstructing an official proceeding, concealing and falsifying records and making false statements to the FDA back in November 2010, she was able to get the charges dismissed because prosecutors “misinstructed” a grand juror as to a question about a central legal point. However, the judge’s dismissal left open the possibility of re-indicting Ms. Stevens. This has now happened.
Read more: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20110414/NEWS/304149960/&cslet=UnhOY2lLWDlLL09ZK2lzMW9hV25UdkJ2cCtycXVHUE8=