$177,000,000 Settlement Involving Pharmaceutical

posted on:
January 11, 2008

author:
Staff

category:
Medical Devices and Drugs | Landmark Verdict

$177,000,000 settlement in a pharmaceutical case on behalf of a group of clients.

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Wells Fargo CEO refuses to release customers from arbitration after fraud

posted on:
September 30, 2016

author:
Staff

category:
Banking, Fraud

In testimony before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on Sept. 29, Wells Fargo Chairman and Chief Executive John Stumpf testified that he would hold customers caught up in a massive fraud scheme to binding arbitration agreements, refusing them their day in court.

“Every day, thousands of consumers sign away their Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury because of forced arbitration,” explains Beasley Allen lawyer W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III. “These clauses are widely used by banks, internet providers, retailers and numerous other businesses. Most people don’t even know they are agreeing to give up their constitutional rights. In many cases, they don’t even know an arbitration clause is in the document they sign. In the case of a dispute, the arbitration firm will be chosen by the company, putting the individual at a distinct disadvantage. Instead of having a remedy through the court system, arbitration leaves the individual powerless, with a limited ability to present evidence or appeal an unjust decision. It’s totally unfair to individuals who have been wronged,” Miles says.

In early September, federal regulators revealed an investigation had uncovered a massive fraud scheme at Wells Fargo. Officials from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said Wells Fargo employees secretly created millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts in customers’ names, without their permission or their knowledge, beginning as early as 2011. As a result of the fraud, CFPB officials say, bank employees were able to collect fees and earn bonuses for creating new accounts. The phony accounts also were used to boost stock value by falsely representing positive penetration rates and company growth.

Arbitration is under fire in other areas, with positive strides being made to eliminate this unjust practice. Just days ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule that will ban nursing homes and long-term care facilities from requiring residents/patients to sign pre-dispute mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition for receiving federal money through Medicare and Medicaid. They can no longer enforce arbitration agreements and prevent people from filing a lawsuit over medical negligence.

“Once again, this issue is in the national spotlight, and there is real opportunity to rid consumers of mandatory binding arbitration agreements that strip them of their rights,” Miles says. “Everyone needs to urge the CFPB to eliminate arbitration clauses from banking agreements. These clauses are in contracts for services that people need, and in many cases cannot do without. That is fundamentally unfair, and places the consumer over a barrel.”

Sources:
New York Times
Los Angeles Times

Related News

Beasley Allen – Millions of Wells Fargo customers victims of fraud
Beasley Allen – CMS rule will eliminate arbitration from nursing home agreements

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Government intervenes in False Claims Act case regarding defective steel in nuclear facility

posted on:
September 29, 2016

author:
Archie Grubb

On Sept. 23, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the government has intervened in a False Claims Act (FCA) case against Energy & Process Corporation (E&P). The complaint alleges that E&P knowingly supplied defective rebar for the construction of a Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear waste treatment facility. This act of fraud not only steals from the American taxpayers, but also, due to the nature of the project, places the public at risk.

When construction suppliers are paid premiums from government contracts to meet higher safety standards, those construction suppliers must ensure their goods meet those standards. When the supplier represents their goods as being compliant with applicable safety standards, knowing the goods fail to meet those standards, that is called fraud. Moreover, it is defrauding the government, which violates the FCA.

The lawsuit against E&P alleges the DOE paid E&P a premium to supply rebar that met strict safety standards and that E&P failed to execute the test required to ensure their rebar met those standards – even though E&P certified the rebar as being compliant. The complaint further alleges, as a result of the fraud, one-third of the rebar supplied by E&P and used in the construction of the nuclear waste treatment facility was defective.

Concerning this case, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, stated, “When contractors cut corners, they not only cheat American taxpayers, but they also can put public safety at risk, particularly when their misconduct affects a facility that houses and processes nuclear materials.”

The lawsuit against E&P was filled under the qui tam provision of the FCA by Deborah Cook, a former employee of E&P. The qui tam provision allows individuals, like Cook, to file suit on behalf of the government by becoming a whistleblower. Under the FCA, Cook is entitled to certain incentives including retaliation protection and 15 to 30 percent of the monies recovered by the government.

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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CMS rule will eliminate arbitration from nursing home agreements

posted on:
September 29, 2016

author:
Staff

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized a rule that will ban nursing homes and long-term care facilities from requiring residents/patients to sign pre-dispute mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition for receiving federal money through Medicare and Medicaid. The rule is part of a 713-page document that revamps nursing home care standards, rules and regulations. It will be implemented in three phases, with the first phase set to go into effect on Nov. 28, 2016. Phase I includes the ban on pre-dispute arbitration clauses.

“The new rules and regulations will provide greater protections for persons who are in a nursing home, including the elderly and the disabled,” says Benjamin L. Locklar, a lawyer at Beasley Allen who works on litigation involving nursing home abuse and neglect. “Among the new requirements, nursing homes that receive government benefits to compensate for the care of its patients may no longer ‘enter into an agreement for binding arbitration.’ What this means is that a nursing home may not require a new resident or his or her family members to waive their Constitutional right to a trial by jury. No longer may long-term-care facilities force residents and their family members into binding arbitration as a result of the facility’s abuse or neglect that harms a patient. This is a badly needed change and it will result in better and safer care and treatment of nursing home residents.”

The new rule means that if a nursing home or long-term care facility wishes to receive Medicare and Medicaid benefits it can no longer require residents or their family members to sign binding arbitration agreements. They can no longer enforce arbitration agreements and prevent people from filing a lawsuit over medical negligence.

“Beasley Allen has been at the forefront of fighting arbitration for many years, and we are excited about the new rules and regulations of CMS,” Locklar says. “Beasley Allen will continue to aggressively pursue nursing home litigation on behalf of our clients, and now we are free to pursue these cases in the courts of this State.”

However, since the new regulation may not apply to existing arbitration agreements, Beasley Allen is encouraging people who have loved ones in nursing homes or long-term care facilities to notify the facility Administrator, in writing, that the arbitration provision is being rescinded on behalf of the resident/patient. If the nursing home refuses to accept the written rescission of the arbitration agreement, we encourage citizens to notify the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that the respective nursing home is refusing to abide by the new regulations.

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Water Works and Sewer Board of Gadsden files PFC contamination lawsuit

posted on:
September 22, 2016

author:
Staff

The Water Works and Sewer Board of Gadsden, Ala., has filed a lawsuit against carpet and textile companies, and their chemical suppliers, that it says are responsible for polluting the city’s water supply. The lawsuit alleges the defendants are responsible for putting perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooactanoic acid (PFOA) into the raw water supply, causing Gadsden water to have higher readings for the man-made chemicals. In May of this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new lifetime health exposure guidelines for PFOS and PFOA. Gadsden is being represented by Beasley Allen Principal & Founder Jere Beasley, and Rhon Jones, Beasley Allen Principal & Toxic Torts Section Head.

“The Gadsden Water Works and Sewer Board and its customers did not put these chemicals in the water. This lawsuit says very clearly that they should not be responsible for removing them either,” says Jones.

After the EPA issued the new exposure limits, an advisory warning was provided to eight systems in Alabama. The EPA advisory focused on PFOA and PFOS, man-made chemical compounds that are used in the manufacture of non-stick, stain-resistant, and water-proofing coatings on fabric, cookware, firefighting foam, and a variety of other consumer products. Exposure to the chemicals over time, even in trace amounts, could promote serious health problems, the EPA warns.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) are working with the Water Works and Sewer Board of Gadsden (WWSBG) to monitor for PFOS and PFOA in the community’s water system.

The complaint has been filed in the Circuit Court of Etowah County, Alabama.

Read the complaint.

Related News

The Gadsden Times – Gadsden Water Works and Sewer Board files lawsuit over water pollution
AL.com – Gadsden Water Works sues more than 30 companies over water pollution

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Three kinds of SEC cases where whistleblower support is invaluable

posted on:
September 21, 2016

author:
Andrew Brashier

Since the launch of the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) whistleblower program, the SEC has received more than 14,000 tips from whistleblowers, including tips from every state and from more than 95 foreign countries. Moreover, the SEC has issued Final Orders and Preliminary Determinations pertaining to over 390 claims for whistleblower awards. The number of whistleblower tips received by the SEC each year has grown 30 percent in the last three years. Nearly 4,000 tips were reported last year alone.

Andrew Ceresney, Director of the Division of Enforcement, highlighted three categories of SEC cases where whistleblower assistance is particularly helpful. These categories were discussed during his speech at the Sixteenth Annual Taxpayers Against Fraud Conference in Washington, D.C., last Wednesday.

Before discussing the three categories of SEC cases where whistleblowers shine the most, Ceresney left no room for doubt when he stated, “as long as a whistleblower believes that he or she has information that may suggest a violation of the federal securities laws, [the SEC] [is] interested in hearing from them.” Ceresney went on to list the following categories of SEC cases: Issuer Reporting and Disclosure, Offering Frauds and Ponzi Schemes, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Whistleblower support in each of these categories has become invaluable.

Issuer Reporting and Disclosure

During the last fiscal year, the SEC brought 114 actions against 191 parties involving financial fraud. As it concerns issuer reporting and disclosure cases, whistleblowers − in addition to helping the SEC discover well-hidden misconduct − are able to provide a roadmap aiding the SEC in uncovering violations, saving valuable time that would otherwise have been spent scrutinizing accounting records and documents. Moreover, the whistleblower is able to give descriptions of vital documents, which greatly aids in discovery.

Offering Frauds and Ponzi Schemes

Offering Frauds and Ponzi Schemes are extremely difficult to detect until it is too late. Therefore, whistleblowers help the SEC focus on false and misleading statements made by the offenders by providing memoranda and marketing materials. By providing this material, the whistleblower empowers the SEC to act quickly, protecting more citizens from investing in these fraudulent opportunities.

Violations of the FCPA

The majority of evidence concerning Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations is found overseas. Therefore, whistleblowers play a vital role during FCPA cases due to the difficulties in investigation overseas conduct. To date, eight awards have been made to whistleblowers living in foreign countries. Ceresney emphasized, “In fact, our largest whistleblower awards to date − $30 million − went to a foreign whistleblower who provided us with key original information about an ongoing fraud that would have been very difficult to detect.”

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. Securities & Exchange Commission

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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.

Millions of Wells Fargo customers victims of fraud

posted on:
September 8, 2016

author:
Staff

category:
Fraud

wells fargo fraud 250x140 Millions of Wells Fargo customers victims of fraudFederal regulators revealed an investigation has uncovered a massive fraud scheme at Wells Fargo, whose victims were the bank’s own customers. Officials from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said Wells Fargo employees secretly created millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts in customers’ names, without their permission or their knowledge, beginning as early as 2011.

As a result of the fraud, CFPB officials say, bank employees were able to collect fees and earn bonuses for creating new accounts.

An investigation by Wells Fargo auditors into the fraud revealed employees opened approximately 1.5 million unauthorized accounts, including enrolling customers in services they did not approve and even applying for credit card accounts using customer information.

“Millions of consumers entrusted their hard-earned money and confidential information to Wells Fargo Bank, which then breached that trust by opening unauthorized accounts just so the bank could generate more fees for itself,” said W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, head of Beasley Allen’s Consumer Fraud section. “This is not only despicable, but corporate misconduct at its worst.”

According to the CFPB, Wells Fargo employees would often perpetrate the fraud by moving money from existing customer accounts into the new accounts and services. As a result, customers also paid penalties for insufficient funds and overdrafts, because money that should have been in their account was not.

At least 5,300 Wells Fargo employees have been fired as a result of the misconduct.

Wells Fargo will pay a penalty of $185 million to the CFPB and has agreed to set aside $5 million to pay restitution to customers. Wells Fargo has an estimated worth of $250 billion.

The CFPB declined to reveal how it uncovered the fraudulent scheme.

Beasley Allen is prepared to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of bank customers who suffered financial losses as a result of this fraud. For more information, contact Dee Miles at 800-898-2034 or Dee.Miles@beasleyallen.com.

Source: CNN

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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 has highest percentage of African-American partners among firms on Top 10 list

posted on:
September 7, 2016

author:
Staff

category:
Community

Legal news and analysis resource Law360 has selected Beasley Allen Crow Methvin Portis & Miles PC as one of the 10 Best Law Firms for Black Attorneys in the U.S., and gave the firm special recognition for having the highest percentage of African-American partners among the top 10 law firms.

The Alabama-based law firm has been proactive in providing opportunities for African-American attorneys through the years. The firm has been consistently supportive of the Alabama African American Bar Association and takes at least two law clerks from the African American Bar Association each year. The initiative has been a valuable part of Beasley Allen’s business plan, benefitting both the firm as well as black attorneys.

“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,” said Tom Methvin, Beasley Allen’s Principal & Managing Attorney. “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, Principal in the firm’s Personal Injury/Products Liability Section, agrees. “Beasley Allen is proud of its stance on diversity, but we’re more proud of the success of our African American attorneys. Each of us has distinguished ourselves as an excellent attorney, and an asset to the legal field.”

Dunson was named Beasley Allen’s Litigator of the Year for 2015 and has served as president of both the Alabama Lawyers Association and the Capital City Bar Association. He also served as the first African-American President of the Montgomery County Bar Association.

Law360 compiled the list by surveying more than 300 U.S. firms with a U.S. component regarding their U.S.-based overall and minority headcount numbers as of Dec. 31, 2015. The firms were ranked based on the percentage of equity and non-equity partners who self-identify as black; the percentage of non-partners who self-identify as black; and the number of attorneys who self-identify as black.

Sources:
Law360
Birmingham Times

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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.

New Jersey Court ruling in talc hearing ignores internal documents

posted on:
September 6, 2016

author:
Staff

Lawyers for Beasley Allen representing clients alleging injures related to talcum powder say they were shocked when a state court judge struck two of their expert witnesses last week in the New Jersey litigation. “These witnesses, Dr. Daniel Cramer, who is from Harvard and is with the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, and Dr. Graham Colditz from Washington University in St. Louis, are two of the most qualified medical scientific researchers in the country,” says Jere Beasley, one of the Beasley Allen lawyers in the ongoing litigation.

“In fact, Dr. Colditz was recently recognized as the leading medical scientific researcher in the entire world,” Beasley says. “It’s most significant that both Drs. Cramer and Colditz were listed by the company that mined and sold talc to Johnson & Johnson as qualified medical researchers they would use to determine if there was a link between talc use and ovarian cancer. Each of these medical researchers found there to be a significant cancer risk.

“The New Jersey decision ignores the fact that Johnson & Johnson has admitted in internal documents that its talc powder product carries a cancer risk and that the scientific studies on the link between talc use and ovarian cancer have been against them and that they expected more to come. The supplier of talc to Johnson & Johnson actually puts a cancer warning on the containers of talc delivered to Johnson & Johnson.

“We are confident that the New Jersey state court decision will be reversed on appeal,” Beasley says. “We will also continue with the litigation in other courts around the country. Both federal and state court judges have favorably reviewed our expert testimony on the link between talc use and ovarian cancer. We will definitely appeal the New Jersey decision, which goes against these previous rulings by both federal and state court judges.

“We are supplying copies of some of the internal documents that show without any doubt that Johnson & Johnson knew of the cancer risk to women for decades and failed to warn them of the risk. We have asked Johnson & Johnson to agree for us to furnish copies of the trial transcripts where both Drs. Cramer and Colditz testified and where the Johnson & Johnson internal documents were introduced into evidence and seen by judges and juries in other trials.”

Documents:

P-0037 – talc material data safety sheet
P-0020 – Werner letter
P-10 – Johnson and Johnson ‘major opportunities’ marketing memo
P-0348 – Kelly memo

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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.

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

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.

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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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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