The FCA Insider

The FCA Insider

Insights and updates on False Claims Act Litigation

Category Archives: FCA Litigation

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Defense Arguments, FCA Defenses, FCA Litigation

Fifth Circuit Vacates Fraud Conviction after Denying Codefendants’ Appeal

The U.S. Fifth Circuit recently reversed a former home health agency employee’s conviction and vacated his sentence related to three counts of healthcare fraud and abuse. Jonathan Nora was convicted by the trial court of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, aiding and abetting healthcare fraud, and several violations of the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS)… Continue Reading
FCA Litigation

Reimbursement Consultant Could be Liable Under the FCA

The Northern District of Illinois recently denied a hospital reimbursement consultant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the consultant could be held liable under the FCA based on the theory that the consultant’s solicitations of fees-for-recommendations could be found to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”). In United States ex rel. Graziosi v. R1 RCM,… Continue Reading
DOJ, FCA Litigation, OIG

Eleventh Circuit Holds “Knowingly and Willfully” Does Not Require Motive for Kickback Recipient

A recent Eleventh Circuit opinion clarified the mens rea burden the Government must prove to establish criminal intent to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) for a recipient or payee of a kickback or bribe under 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(1), and affirmed a conviction against a healthcare provider.  The opinion in United States v. Alap Shah… Continue Reading
Defense Arguments, FCA Litigation

Sixth Circuit Holds Qui Tam Plaintiff a Government “Agent” for Public-Disclosure Bar

A recent Sixth Circuit opinion continues to “snuff [ ] out parasitic suits” brought under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) through the public-disclosure bar.  In U.S. ex rel. Holloway v. Heartland Hospice, Inc. (June 3, 2020 opinion), the court affirmed the lower court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of a hospice provider on grounds… Continue Reading
Defense Arguments, FCA Litigation

Tenth Circuit Affirms an Award of Attorneys’ Fees for a Successful FCA Defendant

On June 11, 2019, the Tenth Circuit affirmed an award of $92,592.75 in attorneys’ fees to the defendants in Pack v. Hickey, 776 F. App’x 549 (10th Cir. 2019). Pack had appealed the district court’s entry of summary judgment and related orders in favor of Defendants Maureen Hickey (“Hickey”) and Cloud Peak Initiatives, Inc. (“Cloud… Continue Reading
FCA Litigation

DOJ Permitted to Re-Plead Its FCA Claims Against Private Equity Firm

Throughout the past several years, private equity funds have made substantial investments in the healthcare industry. These funds have invested in many facets of the industry, including in physician practices, ambulatory surgical centers, and hospitals. More recently, the Department of Justice (“DOJ” or “Government”) has pursued claims against private equity sponsors under the False Claims… Continue Reading
FCA Litigation

Eleventh Circuit Weighs In On FCA’s Alternate Remedies Provision

Due to the infrequency in which the situation arises, the FCA’s “alternate remedy” provision is infrequently invoked or discussed.  In short, this provision states that when the relator presents information about a potential FCA claim for the Government to investigate, the Government has the option to pursue this claim through “any alternate remedy available to… Continue Reading
Defense Arguments, FCA Litigation

Third Circuit Finds that FCA Retaliation Claims Require a Showing of “But-For” Causation

Earlier this year, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in the case of DiFiore v. CSL Behring, LLC.  DiFiore v. CSL Behring, LLC, 879 F.3d 71, 73 (3d Cir. 2018). The opinion set forth the precedent that “but-for causation” is required… Continue Reading
FCA Litigation

Caris Healthcare Pays $8.5M to Settle FCA Case

Caris Healthcare, L.P. has entered an agreement with the DOJ in which it has agreed to pay $8.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act. The qui tam action was filed in the Eastern District of Tennessee by a registered nurse who was formerly an employees of Caris Healthcare. The former employee… Continue Reading
Defense Arguments, FCA Litigation

Eleventh Circuit Expands the Divide on the FCA’s Statute of Limitations

The FCA’s statute of limitations, 31 U.S.C. § 3731(b), has been a source of confusion and disagreement amongst the courts and litigants for years. The disagreement is focused primarily on whether a relator in a non-intervened case can take advantage of the three-year government knowledge/ten-year lookback provision under subsection (b)(2) or whether the relator is… Continue Reading
FCA Litigation

Healogics Settles False Claims Case Involving Allegations of Medically Unnecessary Procedures

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida recently settled a False Claims Act case against Healogics, Inc. (“Healogics”) in which it was alleged that Healogics had knowingly billed Medicare for medically unnecessary and unreasonable hyperbaric oxygen therapy (“HBO therapy”). Under the settlement, Healogics agreed to pay $17.5 million, plus an additional… Continue Reading
FCA Litigation, Investigations

Former DOJ Prosecutor Pleads Guilty After Attempting to Sell Sealed False Claims Act Cases to the Target Defendants

A former prosecutor for the United States Department of Justice has pled guilty to attempting to sell sealed False Claims cases to the defendants in those cases and to transporting stolen goods across state lines. Jeffrey Wertkin was a DOJ prosecutor who had entered private practice with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Mr. Wertkin… Continue Reading
Defense Arguments, FCA Litigation

Ninth Circuit’s Application of the FCA’s Government-Action Bar Provides Finality to Defendants

The FCA contains several provisions that are aimed at discouraging “parasitic” or duplicative qui tam actions. One such provision, known as the “government-action bar,” prohibits relators from bring a qui tam action “based upon allegations or transactions which are the subject of a civil suit . . . in which the Government is already a… Continue Reading
FCA Litigation

Ninth Circuit Denies Arbitration of a Relator’s FCA Claims

On September 11, 2017, in United States and State of Nevada ex rel. Welch v. My Left Foot Children’s Therapy, LLC, the Ninth Circuit held that an arbitration agreement between an employee-relator and her former employer was not broad enough to cover the Relator’s whistleblower claims under the FCA.  This opinion raises questions as to… Continue Reading
Damages, FCA Litigation

Government Increases Civil Monetary Penalties Again

The Department of Justice has announced new, increased civil penalties that are applicable under the False Claims Act (FCA). The new range of FCA penalties is from $10,957 to $21,916.  These increased statutory penalties reflect a continuing, inflation-based increase to the available statutory penalties. This marks the second year in a row in which the applicable penalties under… Continue Reading
FCA Litigation, Implied Certification

First Circuit Finds that the Allegations in Escobar Satisfy the Supreme Court’s Materiality Requirements

The United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Escobar, which we have discussed previously, upheld the use of the implied certification theory where the implied certification of statutory/regulatory compliance is material to the government’s decision to pay the claims at issue. See generally Universal Health Servs., Inc. v. United States and Commonwealth of Mass. ex… Continue Reading
FCA Litigation

Seventh Circuit Finds that Pharmacy Discount Programs Are Not Exempt from the Definition of “Usual and Customary”

Created in 2006, Medicare Part D is a government program that subsidizes the cost of prescription drugs to Medicare beneficiaries. The program is run through “Plan Sponsors” – private entities that receive a fixed monthly payment from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) and subcontract with Pharmacy Benefit Managers to provide prescription drug… Continue Reading
FCA Litigation, FCA Statistics

Relators Recover Over $1 Billion in Non-Intervened Cases in Fiscal Year 2015

In fiscal year 2015, more than $1 Billion of the Government’s False Claims Act (FCA) recovery was derived from cases in which the Government declined to intervene. This significant recovery far exceeds the typical, annual recovery that is obtained by relators without Government intervention. During the past decade, the Government has intervened in approximately 20-24%… Continue Reading
Defense Arguments, FCA Litigation

Third Circuit Ruling Reflects the Narrowed Scope of the Public Disclosure Bar under the Affordable Care Act

The public disclosure bar is a statutorily created hurdle that plaintiffs must cross to successfully maintain a False Claims Act suit. The principle was originally enacted to prevent individuals from filing “parasitic” False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuits that were not based on their independent knowledge. The public disclosure bar has undergone several statutory changes during… Continue Reading

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