$15,006,500 Verdict Involving Insurance Fraud

posted on:
January 15, 2008

author:
Staff

category:
Fraud | Landmark Verdict

July, 1995 – This case involved a property casualty insurance scheme concerning "adjacent structure coverage," on manufactured homes. The company charged all of its policyholders separate adjacent structure coverage, when it was well aware that 90 to 95% of the people who owned these policies did not have adjacent structures to cover. Therefore the coverage was being paid for by the policyholders but was not being provided. The jury found that this conduct was fraudulent and awarded a substantial verdict, including punitive damages in the amount of $15 million.

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Beasley Allen lawyer Andrew Brashier presented with AAJ Wiedemann & Wysocki Award

posted on:
July 26, 2017

author:
Staff

category:
Community

andew brashier1 Beasley Allen lawyer Andrew Brashier presented with AAJ Wiedemann & Wysocki AwardBeasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. Principal Andrew E. Brashier was selected as a 2017 recipient of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Wiedemann & Wysocki Award. The award is presented annually to lawyers who demonstrate a deep commitment to the highest standards and who are passionately committed to the principles of the civil justice system and the mission of AAJ – “to promote a fair and effective justice system and to support the work of attorneys in their efforts to ensure that any person who is injured by the misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice in America’s courtrooms, even when taking on the most powerful interests.”

The Wiedemann Wysocki Award is named in honor of Fritz Wiedemann and James Anthony Wysocki, two New Orleans-based attorneys and active American Association for Justice members who died in a tragic plane crash. This award recognizes members who have carried on their legacy. When called upon, these individuals demonstrated extraordinary leadership among the AAJ Board of Governors and contributed to an overwhelming and unprecedented success during a time of great challenge.

Andrew has practiced in the Consumer Fraud section since joining Beasley Allen Law Firm in September 2010. He has focused primarily on consumer class actions along with qui tam litigation under the False Claims Act. He has also represented whistleblowers through the IRS, SEC and Department of Transportation/NHTSA whistleblower programs. Among his many cases, he has represented one of six whistleblowers responsible for a $39 million settlement in a False Claims Act case alleging illegal kickbacks and off-label marketing by a pharmaceutical company. Andrew is a Martindale-Hubbell AV Rated attorney, and he was recently named by The National Trial Lawyers to the Alabama Top 40 Under 40 list.

“This is a tremendous honor. Everyone who is a part of AAJ is a part of the fight to defend the 7th Amendment right to a trial by jury, regardless of political party or political affiliation,” Brashier said. “Without the right to a trial by jury, it is impossible to protect and enforce each of the liberties enshrined in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

The award was presented at the AAJ Annual Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 25.

Beasley Allen Principal Navan Ward was a Wiedemann & Wysocki Award recipient in 2014. He has just completed a year serving as Parliamentarian for AAJ and was elected Treasurer at the conference.

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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.

JPMorgan whistleblowers to share record SEC award

posted on:
July 25, 2017

author:
Larry Golston

category:
Fraud

larry golston1 JPMorgan whistleblowers to share record SEC awardTwo whistleblowers who exposed JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s practice of leading wealthy clients into investments that were the most profitable for the bank will share a record $61 million award from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The whistleblower awards will come from the SEC’s share of a $307 million settlement JPMorgan agreed to pay in December 2015 after admitting that it failed to disclose conflicts of interest to some of its wealth management clients. The bank stopped short of admitting guilt, saying that its omissions were the unintended result of weaknesses in its communications.

The SEC gets $267 million of the total settlement while the remaining $40 million goes to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which, like the SEC, has operated its own Dodd-Frank sanctioned whistleblower program since 2010.

According to Bloomberg, the SEC notified six whistleblower applicants involved in the JPMorgan case of its preliminary decision regarding the award amounts. One of the whistleblowers is set to receive 18 percent of the SEC’s portion of the settlement amount, $48 million, and the other will collect 5 percent, or $13 million.

The SEC determined that the information provided by the other four whistleblowers did not lead to a successful enforcement action. Those informants have 60 days to appeal the SEC’s determination.
The CFTC has not yet determined whistleblower payouts in the JPMorgan case, but those awards, like the SEC’s, can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the total sanctions, depending on the value of the information they provided.

According to Bloomberg, the whistleblower who will receive the higher award has also applied for a CFTC whistleblower award. However, the SEC wrote to the CFTC that it is opposed to a whistleblower receiving a double award. The SEC said it would avoid making its final award determination until after the CFTC makes its own decision on the matter or the whistleblower withdraws the award application.

Prior to its determination to award a JPMorgan whistleblower $48 million, the highest whistleblower award the SEC paid was $30 million. The SEC doesn’t disclose details about its whistleblower cases and related actions.

Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, you may be protected and rewarded 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:
Reuters
Bloomberg

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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.

Jury hits testosterone therapy maker AbbVie with $150 million in punitive damages

posted on:
July 24, 2017

author:
Staff

Although an Illinois federal jury decided testosterone replacement therapy product AndroGel was not responsible for plaintiff Jesse Mitchell’s heart attack, they did hit the drug’s manufacturer, AbbVie, with a $150 million verdict for punitive damages. The jury found that AbbVie fraudulently marketed AndroGel by creating a condition dubbed “Low T,” and advertising the product directly to men as a kind of fountain of youth for symptoms such as low libido, weight gain and mood swings.

Testosterone therapies are approved only for hypogonadism, a condition in which men produce too little of the male hormone due to disease or defect. It is not for the natural drop in testosterone that occurs as men age. Yet, lawsuits allege, AbbVie and other testosterone makers launched aggressive marketing campaigns aimed directly at consumers.

Mitchell sued AbbVie in 2014 after suffering a heart attack while using AndroGel. His lawsuit, which is one of thousands against testosterone therapy manufacturers consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL), pointed to numerous studies that found a link between testosterone treatments and cardiovascular risks, including heart attacks, strokes and blood clots, some of which can be fatal. The drug companies did not include these risks on the safety labels of their testosterone products.

AbbVie argued that Mitchell’s heart attack could have been caused by his obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol or family history.

The jury ultimately sided with the drug company on the question of cause, but stood with Mitchell on his fraudulent misrepresentation claim. No compensatory damages were awarded, but the jury awarded $150 million in punitive damages in Mitchell’s favor.

The MDL dates back to 2014 and names drug companies such as AbbVie, Besins, Eli Lily and GlaxoSmithKline, and includes products AndroGel, Testim and Axiron, among others. The lawsuits were consolidated in the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois in Chicago. About 6,000 cases are now pending in the MDL, 4,200 of which name AbbVie’s top selling AndroGel.

U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly has already selected about a half dozen AndroGel cases to serve as bellwethers, the first of which ended in a mistrial in June after the plaintiff’s lead attorney fell ill. That trial is rescheduled for September.

Beasley Allen lawyer Matt Teague is handling testosterone replacement therapy litigation for the firm, and serves on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee for the MDL. For more information, call 800-898-2034 or email Matt.Teague@beasleyallen.com.

Source: 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.

Jury establishes link between cancer and creosote, awards former railroad worker

posted on:
July 21, 2017

author:
John Tomlinson

category:
Environmental

john tomlinson Jury establishes link between cancer and creosote, awards former railroad workerA Wisconsin jury awarded James Brown $7.5 million for the cancer he developed from exposure to benzene during his 31-year career as a railroad worker. It determined that Brown’s employers failed to adequately inform him of the health risks and provide appropriate protective equipment to reduce those risks.

The National Law Review reports that for the first time publicly the jury also established a link between Brown’s cancer and his exposure to creosote, a chemical containing benzene.

According to Righting Injustice, “Creosote is a chemical formed by the distillation of tars and other materials such as wood or fossil fuel.” The scent-producing hydrocarbons are byproducts of benzene and other related recurrent compounds.

Brown worked for Chicago & North Western Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. He handled creosote-soaked railroad ties and returned home each day with clothing soaked in in the toxic chemicals. Creosote and benzene often enter the body through the skin and Brown’s skin absorbed the chemicals from his clothing.

Doctors diagnosed Brown with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), which soon developed into Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). According to the National Cancer Institute (Institute), this type of cancer occurs when the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets. The Institute explains that this occurs in roughly 30 percent of the patients diagnosed with MDS.

Union Pacific Railroad argued that Brown’s exposure was not enough to cause the deadly disease. Expert testimony that the smallest exposure to the chemicals can cause AML swayed the jury. The National Law Review notes an added outcome of this case is that, “[t] his ruling is likely to influence future cases as more workers and their families come forward.”

If you would like more information about benzene exposure and benzene-related cancers such as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), you can contact John Tomlinson, a lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section. You can reach him at 800-898-2034 or by email John.Tomlinson@beasleyallen.com. You can also find more information at www.benzene-exposure.com.

Sources:
National Law Review
Righting Injustice
Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) Foundation
National Cancer Institute

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.

MDL established for Physiomesh plaintiffs

posted on:
July 20, 2017

author:
Matt Munson

matt munson MDL established for Physiomesh plaintiffs The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation created a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for claims against Physiomesh makers Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson, Righting Injustice reports. The MDL consolidates the cases in the Northern District of Georgia located in Atlanta with Judge Richard W. Story presiding.

The MDL consolidates nearly 70 lawsuits pending that were pending in 36 different district courts across the country. The complaints share common claims including deteriorating mesh that separates from the abdominal wall and travels through the body. Mesh fragments can perforate or puncture organs and cause chronic pain, infections and even death.

As Beasley Allen has described before, Physiomesh is used to repair areas of weak muscle, called hernias, in the abdomen. The mesh is used to reinforce the abdominal wall, where it is attached, and to keep the hernia from reopening. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Physiomesh in April 2010 through its fast-track 510(k) process, allowing it to bypass rigorous medical testing because of its similarities to a product already on the market – Ethicon’s Proceed transvaginal mesh. Proceed transvaginal mesh was also fast-tracked to market.

Physiomesh and transvaginal mesh are made of polypropylene, which is a flexible plastic product known to erode once implanted. Yet, because both products were fast-tracked to market, neither were safety-tested in humans prior to their market debut and scientists did not have the opportunity to observe the adverse side effects prior to mass production and marketing.

ConsumerSafety.org notes that Ethicon settled approximately 3,000 lawsuits related to problems with its polypropylene transvaginal mesh products in January 2016 as part of an MDL with thousands more claims pending. Righting Injustice reports that approximately 330,000 Physiomesh hernia repair kits were sold worldwide with likely half of them were sold in the U.S.

In May of last year, Ethicon issued a Field Safety Notice and quietly withdrew the product from markets in the U.S., Europe and Australia. The Notice warned that Physiomesh, which is considered a medical device, seemed to have higher rates of hernia recurrence and re-opening in patients using the device as compared to patients using similar devices. Yet, neither Ethicon nor Johnson & Johnson officially recalled Physiomesh.

* * *

If you or a loved one has received hernia treatment that included Physiomesh and have experienced complications, contact Matt Munson by calling 800-898-2034 or by email at Matt.Munson@BeasleyAllen.com.

Sources:
Righting Injustice
Beasley Allen

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.

The Psychology of Whistleblowers: Why do some speak up while others keep quiet?

posted on:
July 18, 2017

author:
Lance Gould

category:
Fraud

lance gould2 The Psychology of Whistleblowers: Why do some speak up while others keep quiet?Would-be whistleblowers almost always face giant risks when they choose to challenge authority, break loyalties, and call out wrongdoing.

According to one recent psychological study, more than 90 percent of participants in a social experiment said they would disobey authority and blow the whistle on an experimenter they observed doing something immoral.

Yet in another phase of the same study, less than 10 percent of the participants actually blew the whistle when they discovered an experimenter’s cruel and immoral behavior during the realistic situational experiment. This finding echoed previous whistleblower studies that determined conformity and fear of defying authority can overwhelm a person’s impulse to do the right thing.

So what makes some whistleblowers choose to put their personal and professional lives in jeopardy while others who witness wrongdoing stay silent?

A report published by the Washington Post on July 13 delved into that question and found that there is no black-and-white answer in many cases but a variety of influencing factors.

First, a whistleblower’s belief in the rightness of his or her action must be strong enough to overcome the hazards of speaking out, the Washington Post found, citing recent studies.

The Washington Post cited a study conducted by Boston College recently found that “people who valued fairness above loyalty were more likely to say they would blow the whistle on someone who committed a crime.”

“A lot of it comes down to their ability to hold on to a set of principles in the face of countervailing social information,” Zeno Franco, a psychologist and expert in the study of heroism at the Medical College of Wisconsin, told the Washington Post. “That’s a very tough call. Most of us don’t want to be in the out-group.”

According to the Washington Post, Dr. Franco classifies whistleblowers as “social heroes” because they are apt to make personal sacrifices on behalf of the greater good, much like military heroes who go beyond the call of duty or risk their lives to help others.

Whistleblowers also are comfortable with a degree of nonconformity, which is usually tied to security in their professional roles, the Post reports.

Situational factors also make a difference in whistleblowing. For instance, if a company or organization has a reputation for handling problems honestly and effectively, its employees will be more likely to voice concerns about wrongdoing.

And, while many would-be whistleblowers can be discouraged by the potential costs, knowing the risks can help some whistleblowers better prepare. “The more aware would-be whistleblowers are of the powerful social pressure they’ll face, the more they can steel themselves to withstand that pressure,” the Washington Post reports.

Pressure to blow the whistle may also come from considering the price of staying silent, especially if something the whistleblower values and loves is threatened by misconduct, be it a company, a mission, a cause, a sport, a principle, and so on.

“The term ‘the sin of omission’ is there for a reason: What will I have to live with if I don’t take action?” Dr. Franco told the Washington Post. “Usually the truth does come to light, and that can be a really powerful guiding principle.”

* * *

Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, you may be protected and rewarded 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:
Washington Post
Boston College – ScienceDirect
Ohio State University

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.

Beasley Allen’s Danielle Ward Mason named to Law360 Rising Stars

posted on:
July 17, 2017

author:
Staff

category:
Community

danielle ward mason Beasley Allens Danielle Ward Mason named to Law360 Rising StarsDanielle Ward Mason, principal with Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has been included for the second consecutive year in the Law360 Rising Stars rankings. Law360’s Rising Stars profiles the top legal talent nationwide, younger than 40. The winners are comprised of top litigators and dealmakers practicing at a level usually seen from veteran attorneys.

“We congratulate Danielle on her continued success and hard work,” said Beasley Allen Principal & Managing Attorney Tom Methvin. “Her drive to obtain justice for her clients epitomizes our firm’s bedrock principal to put our clients first and ensure their access to justice.”

Mason, a Montgomery, Ala. native, became the first African-American female principal at the Beasley Allen Law Firm by age 37 where she proudly focuses her practice on health-related cases and is particularly motivated by cases that have the potential to advance women’s health issues. She has helped win millions of dollars in verdicts for those suffering because of reprehensible corporate conduct. These verdicts have provided a platform for raising public awareness about unsafe medical devices and drugs. They have also led to corrective action by regulators and drug manufacturers.

As part of the Beasley Allen national talc trial team, Mason has helped secure $307 million in verdicts against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for its failure to warn about the scientific link between frequent use of its talc-containing products and the increased risk of ovarian cancer. She has also successfully litigated claims against Imerys Talc America, J&J’s talc supplier. Mason leads the firm’s Invokana litigation, representing clients who have suffered adverse side effects including diabetic coma and death, from the blood sugar regulating medicine. In January, she was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) for consolidated multidistrict litigation pending in New Jersey federal court concerning Invokana’s link to kidney damage and diabetic ketoacidosis.

Mason’s passion to gain justice for her clients is evident in her leadership in the firm’s Reglan litigation. A critical part of her work for this litigation has been ensuring the survival of the claims despite the challenges created by the U.S. Supreme Court’s generic preemption decision, Pliva v. Mensing, in 2011.

Nationally, Mason was also named to the 2014 and 2015 Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list, which recognizes the top up-and-coming attorneys. She has been named one of the “10 Best” Attorneys for Alabama by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys and was selected by her law partners as Beasley Allen’s 2016 Mass Torts Lawyer of the Year. In 2016, Mason received the American Association for Justice F. Scott Baldwin Award, which was established to honor and recognize the world-renowned trial lawyer from Marshall, Texas, whose efforts produced outstanding awards for injured victims and their families. Closer to home, she was selected by the Girl Scouts of South Alabama as the group’s inaugural Leading Lady earlier this year.

Mason graduated from Auburn Montgomery with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics in 1999, followed by a Masters of Business Administration in 2001. She began a career in commercial banking, spending five years with Regions Bank and two years at Compass Bank before entering Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. Mason is married to Dwan R. Mason and they have two sons, Jordan and Jaxon.

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.

Benzene exposure increases worker risk for cancer including AML

posted on:
July 14, 2017

author:
John Tomlinson

category:
Environmental

john tomlinson Benzene exposure increases worker risk for cancer including AMLMichael Krengloskie was a fireman and oiler/carman for more than three decades at the Oakland yard in California, according to the Northern California Record. Kenneth L. Kump was an electrician who worked for Consolidated Rail (Conrail) Corporation and Norfolk Southern Railway Company for 40 years, the Penn Record reports.

These men worked in the same industry and now share a similar story – they say developed cancer linked to benzene exposure at their workplaces. The men have filed lawsuits against their previous employers alleging that despite the companies’ knowledge of the chemical’s dangers, they failed to adequately protect them for years.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information explains that benzene has been a known carcinogen since it was deemed so by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 1982. Yet many employers failed to heed the warning or employ the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommendation to use personal protective equipment for workers frequently exposed to benzene.

As Beasley Allen previously explained, frequent or prolonged exposure increases a person’s risk of developing certain types of cancer including Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). The American Cancer Society confirms this through studies showing higher rates of AML occur in “workers exposed to high levels of benzene.” Railroad workers, automobile mechanics and petroleum refining and extraction workers are just a few occupations that have a high risk of benzene exposure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes benzene as a chemical carcinogen with a sweet odor. It is found in natural gas, petroleum products, plastics, lubricants, detergents, rubber products, paint and even in some food and beverages. It can be inhaled as well as absorbed through the eyes and skin.

The cancer begins as Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), which is a group of bone marrow disorders. Roughly 30 percent of the patients diagnosed with MDS progress to AML. It occurs when bone marrow cells are transformed into abnormal myleoblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells or platelets. They multiply into billons of other abnormal cells and block the production of normal cells.

In the early stages of MDS, symptoms may not immediately manifest, but blood tests may reveal a reduced red cell count, sometimes with a reduced white cell count and/or reduced platelet counts. Symptoms of adult AML include fever, feeling tired and easy bruising or bleeding. A blood test on the blood and bone marrow must be used to diagnose AML.

* * *

If you would like more information about benzene exposure and benzene-related cancers such as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), you can contact John Tomlinson, a lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section. You can reach him at 800-898-2034 or by email John.Tomlinson@beasleyallen.com. You can also find more information at www.benzene-exposure.com.

Sources:
Northern California Record
Penn Record reports
NCBI
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Beasley Allen
American Cancer Society
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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.

Risperdal legal troubles continue to mount

posted on:
July 13, 2017

author:
James Lampkin

james lampkin1 Risperdal legal troubles continue to mount A status update meeting is scheduled this week for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas regarding the 5,800 Risperdal cases that have been filed in Pennsylvania alone, against Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary and drug maker Jansen Pharmaceuticals, LawyersandSettlements.com reports. The meeting comes on the heels of another important lawsuit filed last month in Missouri involving the drug, according to US News and the Associated Press.

The suit was filed by a number of child advocacy organizations against the State of Missouri on behalf of children in the state’s foster care system who were “inappropriately provid[ed] psychotropic drugs” with limited “oversight of the medications.” It is a first-of-its-kind lawsuit. One of the suit’s claims centers on Risperdal being prescribed to two children aged 2 and 3, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved its use in children younger than age 5.

The Jere Beasley Report notes that a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2013 cost Johnson & Johnson $2.2 billion in drug marketing penalties for off-label marketing, including claims that the company aggressively marketed Risperdal for off-label uses to help control the behavior of children and adolescents.

The FDA initially approved the drug in 1994 to treat schizophrenia in adult patients. It has since been approved to treat adolescent schizophrenia, bipolar mania in adults and children ages 10 to 17 and symptoms of autism in adolescents ages 5 to 17.

In addition to the Pennsylvania cases, 16,900 lawsuits have been filed over the antipsychotic drug nationwide. The central claim in the thousands of lawsuits against the drug manufacturer is that it covered up the risk of Risperdal’s most devastating side effect, gynecomastia, which is abnormal breast tissue growth in young boys, as Beasley Allen previously described.

Neither the pharmaceutical giant nor its subsidiary have discussed settling ongoing lawsuits despite four recent jury verdicts totaling $74 million against the drug manufacturers.

* * *

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with gynecomastia as a result of taking Risperdal, contact James Lampkin, a lawyer in our firm’s Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at James.Lampkin@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
LawyersandSettlements
US News/Associated Press
Jere Beasley Report (December 2013)
Beasley Allen

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.

New VA Whistleblower Act offers more protections

posted on:
July 11, 2017

author:
Archie Grubb

category:
Fraud

archie grubb1 New VA Whistleblower Act offers more protectionsAn order signed by President Trump last month, the “VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017,” will provide stronger protections to whistleblowers within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), USA Today reported. The act reinforces the new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection created within the department earlier this year to investigate whistleblowers’ claims in a timelier manner and to protect them from retaliation.

These added protections are a welcomed change by whistleblowers who recently helped uncover the department’s deficiencies in caring for the nation’s veterans.

In 2014, Pauline Dewenter could not remain silent any longer after learning that a navy veteran was the most recent to die while on a “secret waiting” list at the Phoenix VA Health Care System in Arizona. As a scheduling clerk at the facility, Ms. Dewenter was inadvertently placed in a position of determining who on the waiting list got appointments. She knew the practice was not right and “blew the whistle” about a list of veterans waiting to receive care – some for as long as four months.

The facility maintained the list and she discovered that records were changed or physically altered “to hide how many people died while waiting for care.” A report released by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) at the same time revealed that “[n]early 1,000 veterans’ deaths have been linked to…substandard care.” Ms. Dewenter admitted she believed more people would come forward, but they feared retaliation.

Even as recently as May, whistleblowers like Dr. Dale Klein, a doctor at John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, described how a culture of retaliation still exists within the VA, according to FOX News. In May, Dr. Klein’s employment was supposed to be terminated, but instead he returned to work only to sit in his office all day without seeing patients – something he has been doing for a year since he spoke out about substandard care practices at the facility.

The Yale University fellow was hired to establish a pain management clinic, but after voicing concerns about waiting lists for veterans seeking care Dr. Klein says the VA took away his patients and privileges and attempted to fire him. However, the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative agency in Washington, D.C., informed the VA that the doctor could not be fired because he is a whistleblower. Instead, Dr. Klein continues to receive his $250,000 annual salary despite not working with the veterans he wishes to help.

While it better protects whistleblowers like Ms. Dewenter and Dr. Klein, the act also reduces the time allowed for employees to appeal disciplinary actions and requires courts reviewing the actions to support them if they find “substantial evidence” that an action was appropriate. These measures allow the department to terminate problem employees more quickly – ensuring more accountability for the services provided for our country’s veterans.

* * *

Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, you may be protected and rewarded 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:
USA Today
CNN
Senator Tom Coburn
FOX News

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.
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