$10,000,000 Settlement Involving Class Action

posted on:
February 18, 2008

author:
Staff

category:
Business Litigation | Landmark Verdict

October, 1995 – This case was handled as a class action on behalf of certain property owners of oil and gas fields. This case was litigated extensively and settled as a class action.

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Jury finds for family of man killed in log truck crash

posted on:
January 19, 2017

author:
Staff

Jury awards family of a truck driver crushed in log truck accident $16.8 million after finding vehicle cab guard did not protect the driver from injury as it was intended

MONTGOMERY, ALA. (January 19, 2017) – A jury in Lowndes County Circuit Court found in favor of the family of Larry Albritton, who was killed Oct. 7, 2013, when he lost control of the log truck he was driving and crashed. When the load of logs shifted in the crash, they breached the truck’s cab and struck Mr. Albritton, resulting in his death. The jury determined that the cab guard on the truck was defective in design, manufacture and warnings. The jury also found that Merritt Equipment Co. acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others in the way it designed, manufactured and provided warnings related to its cab guards and therefore did not protect Mr. Albritton as it was supposed to do. Beasley Allen lawyers Jere Beasley, LaBarron Boone and Ben Baker, as well as Tyrone Means of Means Gillis Law, represented the Plaintiffs – Jacqueline Wright, Mr. Albritton’s sister; Knichi and Jerry Hatcher, Mr. Albritton’s daughter and son; and Patricia Albritton, Mr. Albritton’s wife. Defendants included Merritt Equipment Co., Pitts Enterprises and Volvo Trucks North America.

“Truck drivers face many hazards on the road every day, from weather to unexpected traffic and unpredictable other drivers. One thing they should be able to count on is that the vehicle they’re driving is designed so that they have a reasonable expectation of being safe in the event of a crash,” Boone said. “In this instance, the manufacturers failed Mr. Albritton, and it cost him his life. It is our hope that this verdict will send a message to these and other companies that ensuring their drivers’ and the public’s safety is more important than their bottom line.”

 

 

Cab guards are required as front-end structures on 18-wheelers that pull flat beds, trailers and log trailers, and are meant to prevent shifting cargo from contacting the cab of heavy trucks. In this case, the cab guard failed. Additionally, the trailer support beams failed to contain the truck’s load in place, allowing it to shift forward, and the trailer had no cab guard attached to it. The case is Jacqueline Wright et al v Volvo Trucks North America, Inc., et al, 45-CV-2013-9000091.00 in the Circuit Court of Lowndes County, Alabama.

Documents

Wright v Volvo – Order

Related News

Law 360 – Jury Says Truck Crash Victim’s Family Entitled To Over $16M

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Market survey shows lithium-ion batteries’ demand climbs, despite ever-present danger

posted on:
January 19, 2017

author:
William Sutton

category:
Toxic Torts

The demand for disposable batteries continues to grow in the U.S., and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries represent much of that growth, based on Packaged Facts recent market survey. The $4.5 million industry experienced more than a two percent increase in sales from 2014 to 2015.

David Sprinkle, Packaged Facts’ research director, attributes the batteries’ growing demand to triple-digit growth of e-cigarette use during the last decade. The e-cigarette gained traction when it was hyped as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. Regardless of such arguments’ veracity, it is clear that the product and its lithium-ion battery have a high risk of exploding.

Beasley Allen has reported the link between lithium-ion batteries and countless exploding devices including smart phones, hoverboards, laptop computers and tablets. It also noted a 2014 U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency study suggesting these batteries may be even more susceptible to explosion when used to power e-cigarettes. Moreover, recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data confirmed a rise in the number of electronic smoking device explosions, according to Righting Injustice.

Victims suffering from e-cigarette explosions confirm the danger as they recount grisly details of their catastrophic incidents. A Massachusetts man recently joined the growing list of exploding e-cigarette victims. His employer captured the incident on video and told the Daily Mail the victim required 12 stitches in his face.

Last year, the FDA assumed regulatory authority over e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems. Until then, manufacturers could dodge health and safety regulations as well as industry-wide standardization. As the agency increases oversight efforts of this industry, the onus is still on consumers to protect themselves.

Medical professionals, including Consumer Reports chief medical adviser Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., advise adult consumers to “use the devices with great caution, if at all.”

* * *

If you would like more information about lithium-ion batteries, you can contact Will Sutton, a lawyer in Toxic Torts Section. He can be reached at 800-898-2034 or by email at William.Sutton@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
Packaged Facts
Beasley Allen
Righting Injustice
Convienence Store Decisions
Daily Mail
Consumer Reports
Righting Injustice

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Canada joins countries implementing asbestos bans

posted on:
January 18, 2017

author:
Rhon Jones

category:
Toxic Torts

Asbestos, a group of fibrous silicate minerals, is a known carcinogen and is closely linked to the development of mesothelioma, one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Once diagnosed, patients live one to two years on average—the late diagnoses a result of the relative rarity of the condition and its long latency period.

Used for its heat-resistance and strength, asbestos can be found in insulation, floor tiles, door gaskets, soundproofing, roofing, patching compounds, fireproof gloves, ironing board covers and various other construction and household products, potentially harming those who make the products as well as those who use them. Despite the known health risks, many countries—including the United States—still allow the use of asbestos in many products, including clothing, pipeline wraps and automated transmission components. But at least 50 countries worldwide, counting the European Union, have comprehensively banned its use to save citizens the heartache of developing a preventable deadly disease.

In December 2016, the Canadian government announced its plans to remove asbestos and asbestos-containing products from the country within the next year, according to a government press release.

In a “whole-of-government approach,” the country will ban asbestos by 2018 after the introduction of new regulations eliminates its manufacture, use, import and export under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999. Public Services and Procurement Canada has already published a National Asbestos Inventory of federal buildings containing the toxic substance, which only becomes a significant health risk when it is disturbed and becomes airborne.

“Across Canada and around the world, asbestos-related cancers continue to hurt Canadian families and pose a significant burden for our health care systems,” Minister of Health Jane Philpott said in the release. “Our government is taking action to protect Canadians from substances such as asbestos that can be harmful to their health and safety.”

The announcement came after the release of new numbers showing asbestos is still the main cause of Canadian workplace deaths, as the country was once one of the largest asbestos producers before its last two mines closed in 2011, according to The Globe and Mail.

In the United States, though the number of mesothelioma cases is no longer increasing because fewer people come in contact with it at work, up to 8 million people may already have been exposed. In addition to workplace exposure, as many as 733,000 commercial and public buildings in the country contained asbestos insulation, according a 1988 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report.

* * *

To see if asbestos exposure qualifies for compensation, please contact Beasley Allen attorney Rhon Jones, head of the firm’s Toxic Torts section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at rhon.jones@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
Government of Canada
The Globe and Mail
Public Services and Procurement Canada
myMeso.org
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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Beasley Allen’s new Atlanta office is open

posted on:
January 13, 2017

author:
Staff

category:
Community

Beasley Allen’s new office is now open in Atlanta, Ga. Since 1979, our law firm has had one location. Although we work with lawyers from all over the country, and in courtrooms throughout the U.S., our offices have always been in Alabama’s Capital City. We are excited about expanding our reach to handle more cases in the state of Georgia and especially in Atlanta.

We are glad to be partnering with noted Atlanta attorney Lance Cooper, who handles product liability cases. Lance actually uncovered the General Motors ignition switch scandal through his great work in the Melton case. You will recall, this case started the massive recall of GM vehicles, which has saved countless lives. Lance is a former president of the Georgia Trial Lawyers and is very well respected in the Atlanta area, Georgia, and throughout the nation. He will be a Principal in our firm and will also maintain his own practice.

We are also grateful that Beasley Allen lawyers Chris Glover and Navan Ward have moved to Atlanta to run this office.

Chris is an experienced attorney, particularly in the area of trucking accidents. He recently wrote a book on the subject, An Introduction to Truck Accident Claims: A Guide to Getting Started, which is available free to lawyers.

Navan is a leader in our Mass Torts section, and has been instrumental in ongoing litigation related to defective metal-on-metal hip implants, serving on a number of Plaintiff Steering Committees for cases involving a number of medical device manufacturers. Navan also is active in the American Association for Justice (AAJ), where he holds the position of Parliamentarian and is in line to become president in the next few years.

Likewise, longtime Principals LaBarron Boone and Gibson Vance will be heavily involved in the Atlanta office. Both LaBarron and Gibson are members of Beasley Allen’s Executive Board.

We will be handling primarily products liability cases and truck accident cases, which include:

  • Auto crashworthiness;
  • Single vehicle accidents;
  • Defective consumer products;
  • Defective tires;
  • Heavy truck rollovers (normally where a truck driver is injured);
  • Cab guard cases (where loads shift in vehicles and injure the driver);
  • On-the-job products liability cases;
  • Honda airbags / Takata airbags.

We will also be handling cases in our normal practice areas, which you can find on our home page in the “About Us” section.

We look forward to working with you should the need arise in the Atlanta area or in the state of Georgia. Please contact Chris Glover at chris.glover@beasleyallen.com or Navan Ward at navan.ward@beasleyallen.com.

Our new office is located at 4200 Northside Parkway, Building One, Suite 200, Atlanta, Ga., 30327. You can reach us by phone at 404-751-1162, Fax at 855-674-1818, or always call us toll free at 800-898-2034 to discuss any cases of interest or to get more information.

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.

EPA finds undisclosed emissions cheating software in Fiat Chrysler cars and trucks

posted on:
January 13, 2017

author:
Kurt Niland

category:
Fraud

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Thursday that it is looking into emissions-control software in more than 100,000 diesel-powered Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram pickup trucks, which manufacturer Fiat Chrysler (FCA) failed to disclose to regulators as required by law.

While the EPA wasn’t ready to call the software a “defeat device” like the software at the center of Volkswagen’s costly emissions scandal, the agency conceded that so far Fiat Chrysler’s software does appear to cheat emissions requirements in violation of the Clean Air Act.

“The software is designed such that during the emissions tests, Fiat Chrysler’s diesel cars meet the standards that protect clean air,” an EPA official told reporters on a conference call, according to NPR. “However, under some other kinds of operating conditions, including many that occur frequently during normal driving, the software directs the emissions control system to operate differently, resulting in emissions that can be much higher.”

The EPA official said that the circumstances that trigger the software to turn emissions off include “driving at high speeds and for an extended period,” resulting in unlawfully excessive releases of nitrogen oxide.

The software was found in model year 2014, 2015, and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3.0 liter diesel engines sold in the U.S. The EPA’s investigation remains ongoing and it’s unclear at this time whether other Fiat Chrysler models and model years will be added.

Although the exact nature of Fiat Chrysler’s emissions software is still under scrutiny, EPA enforcement head Cynthia Giles said, “this is a clear and serious violation of the Clean Air Act. There is no doubt the devices are contributing to illegal pollution.”

“FCA did not disclose the existence of certain auxiliary emission control devices … despite being aware that such a disclosure was mandatory,” the EPA said. “By failing to disclose this software and then selling vehicles that contained it, FCA violated important provisions of the Clean Air Act.”

Under the Clean Air Act, automakers are required to demonstrate through a certification process that vehicles meet federal emissions standards intended to reduce air pollution. This process involves disclosing and explaining the presence of any “auxiliary emissions control devices” (AECDs), which Fiat Chrysler did not do, according to the EPA.

EPA announced its findings just days after federal officials pressed criminal charges against six high-ranking Volkswagen executives who allegedly played a role in designing and implementing secret defeat devices designed to cheat on emissions tests. One of the VW executives charged, Oliver Schmidt, is accused of misleading U.S. officials investigating the emissions cheat.

“It has become apparent that many automobile manufacturers are now utilizing software to cheat their way around the Clean Air Act by simply misrepresenting the emissions of nitrogen oxide from their vehicles,” said Beasley Allen lawyer W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, head of the firm’s Consumer Fraud Section. Miles is one of the 22 attorneys appointed by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee for civil litigation related to the VW emissions cheat. “These vehicles that produce excessive emissions of nitrogen oxide are not legal, they don’t belong on our roads and the use of computer software to produce phony emissions readings is fraudulent,” he said.

Fiat Chrysler said that it has provided “voluminous information” about its technology to the EPA, but the agency maintains that the company has failed to explain the device, according to Law360.

Sources:
NPR
Law360

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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.

Amid growing concerns, FDA heightens regulatory efforts, U.S. airlines called to act on e-cigarettes’ safety risks

posted on:
January 12, 2017

author:
William Sutton

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold a two-day public workshop in April to discuss the potential safety risks of e-cigarettes, according to The Hill. The announcement comes on the heels of the agency’s latest report documenting the rise in the number of e-cigarette explosions, as reported by Beasley Allen.

The workshops will be part of the FDA’s efforts to increase oversight of the electronic smoking industry. Last August, the agency “finalized a rule extending its regulatory authority to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah and pipe tobacco, as part of its goal to improve public health.” Its end goal is to better protect U.S. residents.

The announcement also comes days after another U.S. Senator called for federal action to address the “dangerous devices.” In a press release posted on Politicalnews.me, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) called on the FDA and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to better protect consumers from exploding e-cigarettes. He was prompted to act after a constituent became one of the latest victims of exploding e-cigarettes.

Blumenthal wants defective products recalled and clear safety standards for future devices along with the lithium-ion batteries that power them. According to Righting Injustice, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) also demanded similar action to address the defective devices.

The explosions have been linked to overheating of the lithium-ion batteries that power electronic smoking devices. The lithium-ion batteries have caused similar problems in hoverboards and various smartphones.

Blumenthal issued a similar call to action in a letter to major U.S. airlines, demanding that they voluntarily follow the lead of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and expand the ban of electronic smoking devices, issued early in 2016, to include the passenger cabin as well as checked baggage.

* * *

If you would like more information about lithium-ion batteries, you can contact Will Sutton, a lawyer in Toxic Torts Section. He can be reached at 800-898-2034 or by email at William.Sutton@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
The Hill
Beasley Allen
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Politicalnews.me
Righting Injustice

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.

Fatal rollover triggers recall of Textron’s Bad Boy off-road utility vehicles

posted on:
January 11, 2017

author:
Kurt Niland

Textron Specialized Vehicles and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall Jan. 11 of about 1,100 Bad Boy off-road utility vehicles to address serious injury risks associated with the vehicles’ lack of seat belts.

The recall involves the Bad Boy XTO and Bone Collector XTO model off-road utility vehicles, which come equipped with a bench seat for the driver and front passenger and a rear-facing bench seat for two additional passengers.

The vehicles pose a serious threat of injury and death because they have a high center of gravity, making them prone to roll over. At the same time, they lack seat belts, leaving occupants with no safety restraints in the event of a rollover.

This combination proved deadly when 14-year-old Cody Pike died in Toombs County, Ga., when the Bad Boy XTO he was riding in rolled over in 2014. He was a passenger in the vehicle when the driver made a left-hand turn and the vehicle turned over. Because there were no seat belts or doors on the buggy, Cody was ejected, and was crushed when the 1,700-pound vehicle landed on him.

“While I am glad to see that Textron is recalling these vehicles, I am saddened that it took the loss of a fine young man to bring about this change,” said J. Greg Allen, the lead products liability lawyer for the Beasley Allen law firm of Montgomery, Ala., who represented the family in a wrongful death case resulting from the accident.

“His parents, Adam and Debra, were courageous in standing up for their son in the pursuit of justice,” Mr. Allen added. “Their primary goal in bringing this case was to prevent another family from suffering a loss like theirs.”

In addition to Cody’s tragic death, an adult male driver suffered a serious leg injury in a separate rollover case related to the Textron vehicles.

The recalled vehicles were sold in camouflage, black, white, forest green, flame red, and patriot blue. The brand and model name are printed on the side and front panels. The recalled vehicles have serial numbers ranging from 8000020 through 8004934. These numbers are located the steering wheel column.

The recalled utility vehicles were sold at Bad Boy dealers nationwide from November 2010 through June 2013 for between $13,200 and $14,200. All units were manufactured in the U.S.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled vehicles and contact Textron or an authorized dealer for a free installation of seat belts. Textron Specialized Vehicles is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Textron may be reached by calling toll-free at 855-738-3711 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.badboyoffroad.com.

Sources:
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Reuters

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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.

Chattanooga bus crash reminiscent of Huntsville crash a decade ago

posted on:
January 11, 2017

author:
Kendall Dunson

Any time children are involved in an accident, the results seem to pull on the heartstrings just a little more. Everyone seems to hold their breath, waiting and hoping that each child gets to be tucked into bed that night.

Tragically, that is not always the case, though, and, perhaps even more tragically, those accidents are often preventable.

Just before Christmas, new information regarding the Nov. 21, 2016, school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tenn., was released as a judge found enough evidence against the driver to send his case to a grand jury, according to a CNN article.

Investigators testified the bus driver was allegedly driving 50 mph in a 30 mph zone and was using his cell phone at an undisclosed time in the bus, which violates protocol when children are present. Six children ages 6 to 10 were killed and more than a dozen of the 37 total passengers were injured when the bus swerved off the street and almost split in half after hitting a tree.

The case and the tragic results cause me to believe Huntsville, Ala., has empathy for what has unfolded in Tennessee. In 2006, a bus carrying 40 students careened off an overpass in Huntsville after being clipped by a car. The front of the bus was crushed, killing the four students in the first row of seats and leaving 20 others injured.

In the Chattanooga incident, which occurred just a day after the 10-year anniversary of the Alabama crash, the driver is potentially being charged criminally and has been named in several civil lawsuits along with his employer and the bus manufacturer. In the Huntsville crash, I was lead attorney on a civil case filed against bus company Laidlaw Transit concerning senior Nicole Ford’s death.

We found through crash reconstruction and research that the Huntsville crash and subsequent loss of life was 100 percent preventable. According to Laidlaw’s contract with the city, drivers were required to be properly trained, have no criminal record and be morally fit for the job. We discovered the driver was not fit for the position after driving complaints had been filed against him, and his extensive criminal record, including charges for using a vehicle to endanger the life of another person, should have immediately disqualified him from the position.

In addition, according to state law, drivers are required to wear seatbelts while operating school buses. In this instance, the driver was found on the overpass after the crash claiming he fell out of the bus, something wearing a seat belt should have prevented. He may not have even been in the bus to steer it to safety as a result of his negligence.

This case was settled for a confidential amount and the city of Huntsville ended its contract with Laidlaw after seeing how the accident should have been prevented.

Both tragic cases emphasize how important transportation safety has become, and serve as a reminder of the costs when safety is not made a priority.

* * *

For more information on whether a bus accident qualifies for compensation, contact Kendall Dunson, a principal in BA’s Personal Injury and Product Liability Section, at 800-898-2034 or email Kendall.Dunson@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
CNN
Beasley Allen Report
Righting Injustice

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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.

VW pleads guilty to criminal allegations, agrees to $4.3 billion in penalties

posted on:
January 10, 2017

author:
Staff

category:
Fraud

Volkswagen AG and the U.S. government are nearing an agreement in which the German automaker would plead guilty to criminal misconduct for its emissions scandal and pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties, the company confirmed Tuesday.

The penalties would resolve allegations that VW programmed more than half a million diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. with codes that allowed the vehicles to cheat emissions testing.

The announcement closely follows the weekend arrest of Oliver Schmidt, the former top VW emissions compliance manager for Volkswagen in the U.S. The FBI arrested Mr. Schmidt after gathering evidence that he intentionally misled auto regulators investigating the suspected emissions cheat, known as a “defeat device.” Bloomberg reports that U.S authorities are poised to prosecute additional high-ranking VW executives in Germany in connection with the scandal.

“This appears to be the largest auto manufacturer fine ever imposed by the U.S. Justice Department, but under the circumstances of this particular case it is warranted,” said Beasley Allen lawyer W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, who heads the firm’s Consumer Fraud Section. Miles is one of the 22 attorneys appointed by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee.

As part of the settlement agreement, VW is required to accept an independent monitor to oversee the company’s regulatory actions for three years.

The proposed penalty pushes VW’s total costs incurred in the emissions scandal to nearly $22 billion in the U.S. The company previously agreed to separate civil settlements worth about $17 billion, providing relief in the form of buybacks and repairs to U.S. consumers and auto dealers affected by the scandal as well as investments in clean-air projects and technologies.

VW is also undergoing a criminal investigation in Germany, and it may be forced to square with other countries where some 11 million additional diesel vehicles with emissions cheats were sold.

The drafted settlement agreement with U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will need to be approved by VW’s management and supervisory boards, which are expected to review it before Thursday, Jan. 12.

Sources:
Law360
Bloomberg
USA Today

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.

FCA seal violation triggers three-part balancing test

posted on:
January 10, 2017

author:
Andrew Brashier

On Dec. 6, 2016, the Supreme Court ruled in an 8-0 decision that violating the False Claims Act’s seal requirement does not require an automatic dismissal of the case. The Supreme Court left the decision as to whether or not to dismiss the case in the discretion of the district courts.

Section 3730(b)(2) of the False Claims Act (FCA) requires the plaintiff to file the complaint in camera (under seal) for at least 60 days and not to serve the defendant until the court so orders. In State Farm Fire & Causality Co. v. United States Ex Rel. Rigsby ET AL (Rigsby), the whistleblowers’ attorney leaked the sealed complaint to several news outlets who ran stories on the alleged fraud, without mentioning the FCA case. The district court used a three part-balancing test to determine whether to dismiss the case due to seal violations.

The Supreme Court examined the district court’s use of the three-prong test and affirmed its decision. The district court’s balancing test weighed three factors. These factors were (1) the actual harm to the Government, (2) the severity of the violations, and (3) evidence of bad faith.

The district court ruled that dismissal was inappropriate because the factors weighed in favor of the whistleblowers (also known as relators). Because none of the news outlets stated there was a pending investigation or case, the Supreme Court ruled the Government was in all likelihood not harmed by the disclosures.

Additionally, because the relators had complied with the seal requirements when filing suit, the district court ruled the violations were not severe in their repercussions. Finally, the district court ruled the relators’ attorney’s bad faith acts, in leaking the facts of the underlying case, could be imputed to the relator; however, because the first two factors weigh in the relators’ favor, the district court ruled against dismissing the case.

The Rigsby case could have turned out quite differently had the relators not followed the seal requirements at the start of the case or had the news mentioned the existence of the case. Therefore, even though seal violations might not constitute automatic dismissal of FCA cases, whistleblowers still need to keep the existence of the case completely to themselves.

Additionally, it is crucial that a potential whistleblower acquire competent counsel to advise, guide, and ensure complete adherence to the requirements of the FCA. A whistleblower or inexperienced counsel could trigger the three-part balancing test by disclosing the existence of an FCA case and, thus, could have the case dismissed due to seal violations.

* * *

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:
580 U.S. ___ (2016)
Law360
31 U.S.C. §3730(b)(2)

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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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