In addition to their successful resolution of matters for corporate clients, firm attorneys have been lead counsel for whistleblowers in many of the most prominent cases brought under the Federal and State False Claims Act and have achieved historic victories. A sampling of their successes is listed below:
Celgene Corporation, $280 million
U.S. ex rel. Brown v. Celgene Corporation
Central District of California
GBB recovered $280 million in a non-intervened False Claims Act case against Celgene Corporation on the eve of trial. The Complaint alleged that Celgene unlawfully marketed its drugs Thalomid and Revlimid, including for unsafe and ineffective uses, and subverted independent judgment of medical professionals through false and misleading promotion. The Complaint also alleged that Celgene paid kickbacks to medical professionals to prescribe and recommend Celgene’s drugs in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute. The settlement is the second largest in a non-intervened case brought under the False Claims Act.
Abbott Labs, $1.6 billion
U.S. ex rel. McCoyd v. Abbott Laboratories
Western District of Virginia
The firm’s attorneys, in conjunction with state and federal governments, pursued claims again Abbot Laboratories, alleging that Abbot unlawfully marketed its anti-epileptic drug, Depakote, to children and nursing home patients. Their efforts on behalf of the lead whistleblower lead to a $1.6 billion recovery for federal and state governments, one of the largest recoveries under the False Claims Act in a pharmaceutical case involving a single drug, as well as the institution of a corporate integrity agreement that places compliance burdens on Abbott’s corporate management.
Community Health Systems, $97 million
U.S. ex rel. Doghramji, et al. v. Community Health Systems Inc., et al.
Middle District of Tennessee
Firm attorneys represented three relators in a case alleging healthcare fraud by Tennessee-based company Community Health Systems, Inc. (“CHS”). The scheme to defraud the Medicare system jeoparized patients safety by unnecessarily hospitalizing patients and preventingpatients suffering from true emergencies from receiving adequate care. CHS paid $97 million to resolve accusations that CHS emergency rooms in 120 hospitals systematically admitted patients not suffering from any emergency who should have been treated in an out-patient setting to capitalize on increased cost of reimbursement for emergency services and cheat federal and state insurance plans out of millions.
GlaxoSmithKline, $1.04 billion
U.S. ex rel. Graydon v. GlaxoSmithKline
District of Massachusetts
Firm attorneys served as lead counsel for whistleblowers alleging that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) engaged in illegal promotion of the company’s popular asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) medication, Advair. The case culminated in a $1.04 billion recovery for the federal and state governments.
To read about the settlement agreement, click here: https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/legacy/2012/07/02/plea-ex-b.pdf
Pfizer, $2.3 billion
U.S. ex rel. Demott v. Pfizer
District of Massachusetts
Firm attorneys represented one of six whistleblowers who revealed information to the government that resulted in an overall $2.3 billion recovery for the federal and state governments.
Read about the settlement here: https://www.justice.gov/archive/usao/pae/News/2009/sep/pfizer_settlementagreement.pdf
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.
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.
Read more about the case here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/amgen-pay-us-249-million-resolve-false-claims-act-allegations
Pasha, $13 million
U.S. ex rel. Bunk v. Pasha, et al.
Eastern District of Virginia
Bank of America, $95 million
U.S. ex rel. Szymoniak v. Bank of America, et al.
District of South Carolina / Western District of North Carolina
Firm attorneys played a role in a False Claims Act recovery from mortgage servicer Bank of America on behalf of the government. Bank of America and several other major banks paid a total of $95 million to resolve allegations that they had regularly submitted fraudulent mortgage assignments when filing for Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance. Our lawyers and the whistleblower collaborated with almost half a dozen U.S. Attorney’s Offices to reach the windfall recovery for the government.
Learn about the settlement here: https://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/125201463012554782206.pdf
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.
Northwell Health, $12 million
United States of America ex rel. George Markelson, et. al. v. David B. Samadi, M.D. and Northwell Health, Inc. et al.
Southern District of Florida
GBB attorneys represented one of three whistleblowers in a False Claims Act suit against NY health network Northwell Health, Inc. and it’s subsidiary Lenox Hill Hospital. Whistleblowers alleged that Northwell and hospital Urologist David B. Samadi billed Federal Medicare programs in violation of multiple laws or regulations. Among the accusations were that Samadi and Northwell billed for medically unnecessary procedures, billed for overlapping surgeries, and over-compensated Samadi as an illegal reward for hospital referrals. Whistleblowers also claimed that Samadi left endoscopic procedures to be completed or attended by unsupervised medical students so that he could complete or supervise another patient’s procedure. Defendant’s behavior led to the submission of false claims to Medicare and ultimately millions of dollars in fraudulent government payments.
Read more here: https://apnews.com/d70d5de55af0d5c0f4df4ace4d9de9c9
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.
North Greenville University, $2.5 million
United States ex rel. Shoe v. North Greenville University
District of South Carolina
Firm attorneys pursued a False Claims Act suit against North Greenville University, alleging NGU illegally submitted student aid claims to the government after providing incentive compensation to student recruiters. Title IV of the Higher Education Act makes it a crime for higher education institutions which receive federal student aid money to provide recruiters with commissions, bonuses, or other forms of incentive compensation for recruiting new students. The complaint against NGU accusing of paying a recruitment company which it partially owned, Joined Inc., based on the number of new students their recruiters enrolled.
Shell Oil Company, $110 million
US ex rel. Johnson v. Shell Oil Co.
Eastern District of Texas
GBB attorneys represented whistleblowers in this qui tam suit against Shell Oil Company. Shell was accused of violating the False Claims Act by underpaying royalties on oil produced through federal leases. The Complaint alleged that for nearly 20 years, 1980 through 1998, Shell had misreported the value of oil produced on Federal and Indian land. Since the quantity and value of oil reported determines the cost of royalties, Shell’s incorrect reporting resulted in millions of dollars in unpaid royalties.
Read about the case here: https://www.justice.gov/archive/opa/pr/2001/January/041civ.htm
Boeing Company, $40 million
US Ex Rel. Roby v. Boeing Co.
Southern District of Ohio
Firm attorneys represented the relator in this False Claims Act suit alleging that the Boeing Company defrauded the US Government by manufacturing and selling the Army helicopters with defective parts. The Government contends that Boeing used faulty transmission gears that resulted in the crash of two helicopters and more than $20 million in damages and government expenses. The nature of this case is closely aligned with the original purpose of the False Claims Act; passed in 1863 it was enacted with the intention of preventing large corporate contractors from defrauding the US Army and Government.
Oral Roberts University, $300,000
United States ex rel. Shoe v. Oral Roberts University
District of South Carolina
GBB attorney’s brought this False Claims Act case against Oklahoma based ORU alleging that the university had fraudulently billed the Department of Education after violating the federal ban on incentive-based compensation. The whistleblower contended that ORU hired Shoe Inc., a student recruiting firm, then paid them with a portion of the tuitions of recruited students. Title IV of the higher education act prohibits any university receiving federal student aid from compensating recruiters based on the number of students successfully recruited. Maurice Shoe, the whistleblower and co-owner of Shoe, was awarded $45,000.
Hudson Valley Hematology Oncology Associates, $5.3 million
U.S. ex rel. Abrahamsen v. Hudson Valley
Southern District of New York
Firm attorneys brought a qui tam suit against Hudson Valley Hematology Oncology Associates (Hudson Valley), a New York based treatment center for patients with blood disorders and cancer. The complaint alleges that Hudson Valley illegally billed Medicare and Medicaid for services that were improperly documented and/or were not rendered. Hudson Valley was also accused of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute by waiving copayments and adding the waived fees to claims for Medicare reimbursement. The relator, a former billing department employee at Hudson Valley, recieved between 10-25% of the funds recovered for the government. Hudson Valley also entered into a corporate integrity agreement as part of the settlement.
Read more: https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2016/10/21/medicare-hudson-valley-hematology-oncology/92510938/
Biogen Inc. and Advanced Care Scripts Inc., $23.4 million
U.S. ex rel. Paul Nee v. Biogen, Inc., et. al.
District of Massachusetts
GBB attorneys settled this qui tam suit against Advanced Care Scripts and Biogen, one of the worlds’ largest pharmaceutical companies. The complaint, filed by a whistleblower under the False Claims Act, alleged that Defendants used charitable organizations in a kickback scheme to pay the Medicare copays for multiple sclerosis drugs Avonex and Tysabri. Medicare subsequently paid the claims for these drugs, which can cost as much $80,000 per patient per year.