$11,750,000 Verdict Involving Wrongful Release

posted on:
January 15, 2008

author:
Staff

category:
Personal Injury and Product Liability | Landmark Verdict

1983 – In this case, our client's son was killed by Defendant who had recently been let out of a mental institution. Immediately prior to him being let out of the institution, he had written a letter to his girlfriend, which the mental institution had a copy of, stating that he was going to kill someone. Within a day or two of being released, he killed our client's son. The jury was outraged by this conduct and awarded a substantial verdict to try to stop this from ever happening again.

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One dead, four injured after truck hauling Takata airbag inflators explodes in Texas

posted on:
August 29, 2016

author:
Staff

A truck hauling Takata airbag inflators filled with a volatile chemical compound exploded last week in a Texas border town, killing one woman and injuring four others.

A subcontractor of the Tokyo-based airbag manufacturer was reportedly traveling between Takata’s airbag factory in Monclova, Mexico, and a company warehouse in Eagle Pass, Texas, with a load of airbag inflators and propellants when it flipped over and exploded. The accident happened Aug. 22 in the Texas border town of Quemado, about 140 miles south of San Antonio.

The explosion leveled a house, killing a woman identified by the News Gram of Eagle Pass as Lucila Robles. Few signs of Ms. Robles’ home remained except for the charred skeleton of her vehicle. The blast sent debris up to two miles from the crash site.

Sheriff Tom Schmerber told the Eagle Pass news Gram on Friday that cleanup was about complete, but his department was still receiving reports of damages.

Fearing components of the explosive airbags may be strewn about town, Takata officials were in Quemado last week to meet with residents and advise them to report any suspicious items or debris so authorities could dispose of it properly.

Takata confirmed that the truck involved in the accident was carrying airbag inflators containing ammonium nitrate, a volatile chemical compound that acts as a propellant to inflate the devices. Takata has recalled more than 100 million of its airbag inflators worldwide, including 69 million in the U.S. The defective mechanisms are blamed for at least 13 deaths worldwide – 10 in the U.S. and three in Malaysia.

All but one of the U.S. fatalities have occurred in Honda vehicles, but the massive recall affects airbags made by more than a dozen auto manufacturers.

The compound is sensitive to heat and humidity, which can cause it to degrade and inflate the airbag with excessive force or explode like a bomb, blasting metal fragments of the container toward car occupants. The defective Takata airbags often explode even in fender benders and other minor accidents.

Sources:
Eagle Pass News Gram
Associated Press
Reuters

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Law 360 names Beasley Allen among Top 10 Best Law Firms for Black Attorneys in the U.S.

posted on:
August 29, 2016

author:
Staff

category:
Community

law360 top ten law firm black attorneys 250x140 Law 360 names Beasley Allen among Top 10 Best Law Firms for Black Attorneys in the U.S.Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., was selected by Law360 as one of the 10 Best Law Firms for Black Attorneys in the U.S. The firm was recognized as having the highest percentage of African-American partners of any of the firms included on the list.

Tom Methvin, Principal & Managing Attorney for the firm, says being mindful of providing opportunities for African-American attorneys is part of the firm’s business plan. The firm actively supports programs of the Alabama Lawyers Association, and each year takes two or more law clerks from that network. Creating a workplace where black attorneys can succeed is a win-win for everyone, he says.

“When you have diversity, you have different points of view. It helps attract clients. It helps us understand how juries feel. We wanted to have African-American attorneys in each section that we practice,” Methvin said. “We expect a lot out of all our lawyers, and we provide an environment where they can be successful if they want to be. Their success is the firm’s success.”

Kendall Dunson is a Principal in the firm’s Personal Injury/Products Liability Section. He was named Beasley Allen’s Litigator of the Year for 2015. He has served as president of both the Alabama Lawyers Association and the Capital City Bar Association, and served as the first African-American President of the Montgomery County Bar Association.

“Beasley Allen is proud of its stance on diversity, but we’re more proud of the success of our African American attorneys,” Dunson says. “Each of us have distinguished ourselves as an excellent attorney, and an asset to the legal field.”

To compile its Top 10 list, Law360 surveyed more than 300 U.S. firms with a U.S. component, about their overall and minority headcount numbers as of Dec. 31, 2015. Only U.S.-based attorneys were included in the survey. Firms are ranked based on three factors: the percentage of partners, both equity and non-equity, who self-identify as black; the percentage of non-partners who self-identify as black; and the number of attorneys at the firm who self-identify as black.

To obtain more information about Beasley Allen’s African American attorneys and their successes, visit the attorneys page on the firm’s website at www.beasleyallen.com/attorneys. For additional information about verdicts and settlements, contact Helen Taylor, Public Relations Coordinator, at helen.taylor@beasleyallen.com.

Source: Law360

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Beasley Allen lawyers secure $500,000 verdict for man permanently injured on the job

posted on:
August 26, 2016

author:
Staff

A circuit court jury in Calhoun County, Ala., awarded Gregory Bell and his wife, Althea, $500,000 in compensation for a serious, permanent injury he sustained on the job as a furnace operator at Union Foundry Co. Mr. Bell was operating the furnace on Sept. 28, 2010, when he stepped into an unguarded opening and into hot melted iron. As a result, he lost a portion of his right foot.

The jury found the furnace was defectively designed, lacking any type of guard that would prevent such a devastating injury. Beasley Allen lawyers Kendall Dunson and Evan Allen represented the Bells. DISA Industries, Inc., was the only defendant to go to trial in the case.

“Employees have a reasonable expectation that when they go to work, they will be able to do their jobs safely,” Dunson said. “In this case, Mr. Bell was exposed to a very serious hazard that could very easily have been prevented by simply changing the design of the furnace so that the molten metal was guarded, preventing a worker from accidentally being exposed to the burn hazard. It is our hope that this verdict will lead to safety changes that will prevent any other workers from having to suffer a similar injury.”

The jury’s verdict confirmed the Plaintiff’s allegations that DISA was guilty of negligence and that its design violated Alabama’s product liability laws. The case was filed in the Circuit Court of Calhoun County, Ala., case number CV-2012-900465.

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Beasley Allen helps raise awareness of Traumatic Brain Injury

posted on:
August 25, 2016

author:
Staff

category:
Community

tom methvin ahif 250x140 Beasley Allen helps raise awareness of Traumatic Brain InjuryMore than 40 Beasley Allen Law Firm attorneys and staff took the “Brain Freeze Challenge” to raise awareness for the Alabama Head Injury Foundation (AHIF) and all they do for victims of traumatic brain injury in our state. Supporters joined together for a big bite of ice cream and donated more than $1,000 to the cause.

Each year in Alabama, more than 10,000 Alabamians sustain a traumatic brain injury. The most common causes of these injuries include falls, domestic violence, motor vehicle accidents and concussions. The Alabama Head Injury Foundation (AHIF) has more than 3,100 total clients across the state, including more than 300 in the River Region area. In 2015, AHIF provided direct services to 1,082 individuals.

“Many of our attorneys have handled cases involving clients who have sustained a traumatic brain injury by no fault of their own” says Beasley Allen Founding Attorney, Jere Beasley. “Unfortunately people just don’t understand the severity of these injuries and therefore do not know what to look for or how to help. The Alabama Head Injury Foundation does a good job educating the public and taking care of those clients in their care.”

Sadly, even if a TBI victim appears to be well, they may still be suffering from short- or long-term changes that affect thinking, sensation, language or even emotions, creating depression, aggression and other forms of unusual behavior. Studies have found that in patients who have experienced a TBI, suicide rates are increased two to three times when compared to those without a TBI, depending on the individual.

For more information or to make a donation visit www.ahif.org.

Photo caption: Tom Methvin, Beasley Allen Principal & Managing Attorney, presents a check to Scott Powell, Executive Director of the Alabama Head Injury Foundation.

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Jere Beasley challenges J&J to release all talc documents, trial transcripts

posted on:
August 25, 2016

author:
Staff

Johnson & Johnson is appealing two multimillion-dollar verdicts – including $112 million in punitive damages – after two separate juries found the company liable of concealing an increased risk of ovarian cancer directly linked to talcum powder use. In comments to Legal NewsLine, the company claims that we “deliberately created confusion about the science of talc.” Jere L. Beasley, Principal & Founder of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., says this is the ultimate example of a corporate defendant attempting to mislead the media and the public, and is demanding the company release all confidential internal documents and the trial transcripts to the news media, including the editorial boards, so that the truth will be made known to all concerned.

“It is the height of irony that Johnson & Johnson would claim that our trial team are the ones trying to create confusion surrounding the scientific evidence linking use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene to ovarian cancer,” Beasley said. “We have internal documents – including one from talc supplier Imerys – where the companies have bragged for years about the need to create more confusion regarding the issue of cancer and talc. I challenge Johnson & Johnson’s lawyers to meet with me anytime, anywhere, so that we can jointly release all internal documents and the trial transcripts. What are they hiding from?”

On May 2, a jury in City of St. Louis Circuit Court found Johnson & Johnson liable for ovarian cancer linked to genital use of its talcum powder products. The jurors awarded Gloria Ristesund $55 million, which included $5 million in actual damages and $50 million in punitive damages. In February, another jury had awarded the family of Jacqueline Fox $72 million, holding Johnson & Johnson liable for her ovarian cancer death. In that verdict, $62 million was punitive damages. The purpose of awarding punitive damages is to punish a company for wrongdoing and to compel it to change its actions.

Documents shown to the jury during the trial indicated that Johnson & Johnson’s own consultants advised the company that numerous scientific studies supported a clear link between genital use of talcum powder and an increased risk of ovarian cancer. In a letter dated in 1997, Dr. Alfred Wehner, a paid consultant for J&J, warns a Johnson & Johnson executive that anyone who continued to deny the evidence presented by these studies “…will be perceived by the public like it perceives the cigarette industry: denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.” There are a multitude of internal documents from J&J revealing that Johnson & Johnson knew of the cancer risk associated with its talc products.

An estimated 25,000 women are diagnosed each year with ovarian cancer, and more than 14,000 die. The disease strikes about one in 70 women, though studies show that women who use talc-containing products on their genitals have a one in 50 chance of developing the disease. Expert testimony at trial revealed at least 45,000 women have died as a result of ovarian cancer that could be attributed to talcum powder use on the genitals, and an estimated 2,500 women will die within the next year as a result of talc use.

Related News:

Legal NewsLine – Johnson & Johnson appealing multimillion-dollar verdicts in talcum powder cases

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Reconstruction contract in Afghanistan and Iraq gives rise to False Claims allegations

posted on:
August 24, 2016

author:
Lance Gould

Last month the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the United States is filing claims against Derish Wolf and Salvatore Pepe for violating the False Claims Act (FCA). Derish Wolf and Salvatore Pepe are the former CEO and CFO for Louis Berger Group, Inc. (LBG), a company that specializes in rehabilitating critical infrastructures in fragile states and developing countries. The complaint alleges that LBG conspired to overbill the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for costs acquired while performing reconstruction projects in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The False Claims Act prohibits anyone, corporate entities and individuals, from defrauding the government. Overbilling is a type of fraud. When companies overbill the government, they are stealing money from the tax pool and diverting funds away from the task the funds were purposed to accomplish. Money had been set aside to help with the reconstruction project in Afghanistan and Iraq; however, some of that money was being diverted in order to pay inflated overhead salaries instead of funding the reconstruction.

The United States alleges that the executives of LBG used accounting schemes in order to bill the government for overhead cost at inflated rates. These schemes were originally brought to the United States’ attention though whistleblower Harold Salomon. Salomon, an LBG accountant, filed the complaint against LBG under the qui tam provision of the FCA. The qui tam provision of the FCA permits private individuals to sue on behalf of the government when they have knowledge of one defrauding the government.

The United States resolved criminal and civil claims against LBG, where LBG agreed to pay $50.6 million to resolve FCA allegations and entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement. Pepe and Wolff plead guilty to the criminal charge of conspiracy to defraud the government. The complaint, announced last month, asserts civil claims against Wolf and Pepe for violating the FCA.

Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, the FCA can protect and reward you for doing the right thing by reporting the fraud. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, please contact an attorney at Beasley Allen for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on this website, or you may email one of the lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team: Archie Grubb, Larry Golston, Lance Gould or Andrew Brashier.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Medical device manufacturer pays $18 million to resolve False Claims Act suit

posted on:
August 9, 2016

author:
Andrew Brashier

This July, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $18 million to resolve False Claims Act (FCA) allegations. Acclarent, Inc. (Acclarent) allegedly was marketing and distributing its sinus spacer product for use as a drug delivery device without having the proper approval from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Acclarent was accused of marketing and distributing its sinus spacer product for purposes other than what the FDA approved.

The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 352, gives criteria to determine when a drug or device has been misbranded. The Government’s complaint alleges that Acclarent violated 21 U.S.C. § 352 by (1) falsely stating the device’s intended purpose on the label, (2) including inadequate and misleading instructions, and (3) by using promotional material, including the label, boasting the device is effective for the treatment of sinusitis and related sinus illnesses when there is no clinical evidence as to the products effectiveness.

Acclarent, as a result, violated the FCA when it misbranded its device − giving the device a different purpose other than what the FDA approved − because it caused health care providers to submit false claims to Medicare.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer stated, “The FDA approval process serves an important role in ensuring that federal health care participants receive devices that are safe, effective and medically appropriate.”

When a patient receives a medical device, that patient should not have to worry whether or not the device has been approved by the FDA. In this case, it was alleged that Acclarent marketed and sold its sinus spacer product for unapproved uses even though the FDA explicitly rejected the company’s 2007 request to extend the approved uses of the devise. As a result of the promotional materials and labeling, the product should have never been introduced into commerce.

This case against Acclarent was filed under the qui tam provision of the FCA. The qui tam provision, also known as the whistleblower provision, of the FCA provides an avenue for ordinary citizens to blow the whistle on fraud. The FCA provides incentives for one to blow the whistle when they have knowledge of someone defrauding the government. These incentives include protection against retaliation and 15 to 30 percent of the funds recovered by the government. In this case, the whistleblower will receive approximately $3.5 million for their participation in the case.

Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, the FCA can protect and reward you for doing the right thing by reporting the fraud. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, please contact an attorney at Beasley Allen for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on this website, or you may email one of the lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team: Archie Grubb, Larry Golston, Lance Gould or Andrew Brashier.

Sources:
21 U.S.C. § 352
U.S. Department of Justice

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Tax Court orders IRS to pay whistleblower pair $17.8 million

posted on:
August 8, 2016

author:
Kurt Niland

A husband and wife who provided tips and information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblower program that led to tax restitutions, criminal fines, and civil forfeitures totaling more than $74.1 million will receive a whistleblower award after originally being denied one.

On Aug. 3, Judge Julian Jacobs of the U.S. Tax Court awarded the unidentified pair $17.8 million in a decision that marks the first time whistleblowers have been awarded a percentage of the criminal fines and civil forfeitures in addition to part of the tax recovery. The decision reverses the IRS’s stance that criminal and civil forfeitures don’t count as part of the collected proceeds.

The award, which amounts to 24 percent of the total collected proceeds, could provide encouragement and incentive to other potential whistleblowers who are witness to tax fraud, including cases of offshore tax fraud that could result in even larger whistleblower awards.

The Tax Court’s decision does not disclose the name of the institution found guilty of tax fraud, but the $74-million recovery and legal time frame point to the case of Wegelin, Switzerland’s oldest bank. A federal judge ordered Wegelin to pay $74 million in January 2013. That ruling was the first time a criminal sentence had been handed down to a foreign bank found guilty of violating U.S. law.

Wegelin was just one overseas bank to be prosecuted by the U.S. government for providing a place for U.S. tax evaders to hide their money. Federal prosecutors accused Wegelin of hiding more than $1.2 billion from the IRS in undeclared accounts.

The latest whistleblower award of $17.8 million will likely remove the largest hurdle barring would-be whistleblowers from exposing large-scale tax fraud in the future, including cases involving giant foreign banks and offshore tax shelters.

Whistleblowers who provide tips to the IRS that result in an enforcement action and recovery are entitled to receive up to 30 percent of the amount the government collects. According to the Wall Street Journal, the IRS has paid 99 whistleblower awards totaling $103.5 million.

Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, the FCA can protect and reward you for doing the right thing by reporting the fraud. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, please contact an attorney at Beasley Allen for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on this website, or you may email one of the lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team: Archie Grubb, Larry Golston, Lance Gould or Andrew Brashier.

Sources:
TC-Opinion-8-3-2016
Wall Street Journal

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Judge grants preliminary approval to VW emissions cheat settlement; Beasley Allen lawyer appointed Class Counsel

posted on:
July 27, 2016

author:
Staff

category:
Fraud

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has granted preliminary approval to the settlement reached June 27 between Volkswagen and owners of about half a million diesel-powered VW vehicles over the German automaker’s emissions cheat. The settlement is expected to cost VW about $14.7 billion, including $10.033 billion set aside to cover vehicle buybacks and fixes, $2 billion for “green energy” funds and $2.7 billion to offset diesel emissions. Judge Breyer is overseeing the consolidated litigation. The final approval hearing is set for Oct. 18, 2016.

Beasley Allen is one of the law firms chosen to litigate the Volkswagen case on behalf of plaintiffs harmed by the automaker’s emissions cheat. Beasley Allen Principal W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, who heads the firm’s Consumer Fraud section, was one of the 22 attorneys appointed by Judge Breyer to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee. Miles and the other attorneys on that committee have now been appointed as Class Counsel for this litigation as it proceeds. This is believed to be the largest automobile settlement in history.

“This historical settlement, which has just been granted preliminarily approved by the court, is now the new benchmark for consumer class actions in terms of meaningful relief for consumers, the government, and, specific to this case, the global environment,” Miles said. “While there remains more work to do with regard to the 3.0 liter engines, the fact that the parties and the government were able to achieve this multi-faceted settlement in less than 10 months is quite remarkable.”

The settlement will compensate owners of some 482,000 model-year 2009-2015 VW and Audi vehicles with two-liter diesel engines. Under the agreement, vehicle owners would be allowed to choose whether to sell their vehicle back to VW or have it repaired. According to the terms of the settlement agreement, cash compensation offered to each car owner could range between $5,100 and $10,000 and total compensation will depend on the cars’ value before Volkswagen admitted to the emissions cheat.

Volkswagen installed the emissions cheat on 10.5 million diesel-powered vehicles worldwide, including the half million U.S. vehicles — all while promoting “clean diesel” as an alternative to electric and hybrid vehicles. The defeat device enables the vehicles to detect the special parameters of an emissions drive cycle, which prompts the vehicle’s computer to turn on emissions controls, thereby making the vehicle fully compliant with EPA rules during testing.

The software also senses steering, throttle, and other variables unique to real-time driving, which cues the computer to turn off emissions controls, allowing the vehicle to release extremely high levels of nitrogen-oxide emissions. These toxic emissions are up to 40 times higher than federal limits allow.

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Hospice providers pay $18 million to resolve alleged False Claims Act violations

posted on:
July 26, 2016

author:
Lance Gould

Recently, the Department of Justice announced Evercare Hospice and Palliative Care have agreed to pay $18 million in order to settle alleged False Claims Act (FCA) violations. These allegations purported that the providers were receiving Medicare reimbursement for patients placed in hospice care, even though the patients were not eligible for hospice. Hospice care is an end-of-life care reserved for those who are terminally ill.

According to Medicare, for one to be terminally ill, and thus eligible for hospice care, their life expectancy must be six months or less. Once a patient is placed in hospice care, Medicare no longer covers customary medical care designed to help the patient recover. After a patient decides on hospice care, efforts are focused on quality of life instead of curative measures.

The government’s complaint against these hospice providers alleged that the providers’ business practices maximized the number of patients for whom they could bill Medicare, regardless of whether the patients needed or were eligible for hospice. The complaint further asserts that the providers discouraged doctors from discharging ineligible patients from hospice care.

Concerning the settlement, the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer stated, “Today’s settlement reflects the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to combat health care fraud and protect the nation’s elderly and most vulnerable citizens. Our seniors rely on the hospice program to provide them with quality care, dignity and respect when they are terminally ill and need end-of-life care. It is, therefore, critically important that we hold accountable those hospice providers that bill for medically unnecessary services in order to get higher reimbursements from the Medicare program. Such abuses threaten a vulnerable population and jeopardize this important benefit for others under the program. The Justice Department will continue to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure that this critical benefit is available for Medicare patients who truly need it.”

When a person defrauds the government, they are stealing funds from critical federal programs that are financed by taxpayers. In this war against fraud, ordinary citizens are using the FCA to aid the government in recovering defrauded money.

The FCA provides an avenue for citizens to sue on behalf of the government when they know of someone defrauding the government. This avenue is known as the qui tam provision, and not only does it provide an avenue, but the qui tam provision also offers incentives for citizens to step forward as whistleblowers. These incentives include 15 to 30 percent of the monies recovered by the government.

The case against Evercare Hospice and Palliative Care was originally brought under the qui tam provision of the FCA by former employees of the providers. These former employees are now entitled to receive up to $5.4 million for their part in the case.

Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, the FCA can protect and reward you for doing the right thing by reporting the fraud. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, please contact an attorney at Beasley Allen for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on this website, or you may email one of the lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team: Archie Grubb, Larry Golston, Lance Gould or Andrew Brashier.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.
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