$50,005,000 Verdict Involving Predatory Lending

posted on:
January 15, 2008

author:
Staff

category:
Fraud | Landmark Verdict

August, 1994 – This case involved a nationwide scheme dealing with a bogus car loan. In this scheme, the car dealer would agree to sell the car to the consumer for a certain high price and then arrange the financing for the consumer. The car dealer would include an extra amount in the price and amount financed so that the customer was paying more for it than the car was worth. He was also paying interest on this amount. When the finance company gave the money to the car dealer for the car, it didn't give the full purchase price to them. Instead, it held back a substantial amount. The practical effect was that the consumer paid much more for the vehicle than it was really worth. The jury found this was fraudulent activity and sent them a message to stop them. After the case was settled, the company was caught "cooking the books" and later went out of business.

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Whistleblower action recovers $1.4 million from national dental chain

posted on:
September 15, 2017

author:
Archie Grubb

archie grubb1 Whistleblower action recovers $1.4 million from national dental chainNational dentistry chain Dental Dreams has agreed to pay the U.S. nearly $1.4 million to settle a whistleblower’s claims that it improperly billed the Massachusetts Medicaid program, MassHealth, for “unnecessary and unjustifiable dental procedures.”

The $1.375 million settlement resolves allegations brought by a former Dental Dreams employee under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA), which allows private parties to sue on behalf of the U.S. government when witness to apparent fraud and other wrongdoing.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) the whistleblower lawsuit alleged that Dental Dreams overbilled the Massachusetts Medicaid program for surgical extractions of teeth and for a certain type of oral examination that was not specified.

“This dental chain’s extensive improper billing violated state regulations and cost our state’s Medicaid program more than a million dollars,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “As a result of this joint investigation, today’s settlement provides restitution to MassHealth and ensures that these funds are properly used to benefit its members.”

Harold Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Division said that Dental Dreams “took advantage of a vulnerable patient population when it submitted claims to MassHealth for medically unnecessary and unreasonable dental procedures.”

“Today’s settlement underscores the FBI’s commitment to investigate health care providers who overbill federal and private health insurance programs to maximize profits,” he added. “We urge anyone with information regarding overbilling practices to contact us.”

Dental Dreams is a full-service chain of dentistry clinics that operate in ten states and the District of Columbia.

* * *

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.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

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

U.S. nursing home industry fails to protect residents as aging population demand grows

posted on:
September 14, 2017

author:
Chris Boutwell

 U.S. nursing home industry fails to protect residents as aging population demand growsA new study from the RAND Center for the Study on Aging shows that more than half the U.S. population will require nursing home care at some point during their lives. The number is much higher than the 35 percent previously estimated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The needs can range from weeks of temporary care for rehabilitation to longer term care. These findings come on the heels of a recently released report by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at HHS. When combined, the information from the two reports is very troubling for our country’s aging population and their loved ones regarding the abuse and neglect running rampant in nursing homes across the country.

Auditors for the OIG found that skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes failed or refused to report more than one-quarter of severe incidents of abuse as required by law.

In an ongoing review of potential abuse and neglect of Medicare beneficiaries, auditors uncovered 134 such incidents and learned that 28 percent of the cases showed no evidence they were reported to local law enforcement “despite State mandatory reporting laws requiring the hospitals’ medical staff to do so,” the report noted. While the audit continues, OIG officials believed it was critical to issue an “early alert” insisting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees nursing homes, immediately address the significant underreporting problem.

The auditors discovered the grave problem while sifting through and comparing reports for services paid to beneficiaries who obtained emergency room treatment in addition to the treatment and care they were already receiving at their nursing home. Auditors learned that CMS does not conduct the same type of comparison of beneficiaries’ records. This finding was key to alerting auditors that CMS procedures to identify and report abuse and neglect incidents were deficient.

As federal regulators and consumer advocates work to combat nursing home abuse and neglect and make nursing homes safer for residents, others are working to block these efforts, including the nursing home industry. In the coming weeks, we will highlight the shortfalls within the industry and the challenges facing nursing home residents and their families and caregivers in this Nursing Home Series of stories.

* * *

If you need more information on nursing home litigation contact Chris Boutwell at 800-898-2034 or by email at Chris.Boutwell@beasleyallen.com. Chris handles nursing home litigation for our firm, and he will be glad to talk with you.

Visit BeasleyAllen.com on Thursday, Sept. 21 for another installment in the Nursing Home Series.

Sources:
RAND Center for the Study on Aging
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Inspector General

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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 trial for testosterone litigation starts next week

posted on:
September 13, 2017

author:
Matt Teague

matt teague New trial for testosterone litigation starts next weekIn June, the first bellwether trial for the Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) multidistrict litigation (MDL) ended in a mistrial when the lead plaintiff’s lawyer suffered from heart problems. The new trial for the case is slated to begin next week in the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois in Chicago, Law.com reported.

Plaintiff Jeffrey Konrad contends that his heart attack seven years ago was linked to the TRT drug AndroGel he started to use 65 days earlier. His is one of more than 7,000 claims pending against TRT manufacturers, including AndroGel maker AbbVie, Besins, Eli Lily and GlaxoSmithKline, as Beasley Allen previously reported. The claims are seeking to hold the manufacturers accountable for failing to warn users of potential cardiovascular side effects.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved TRT to treat hypogonadism, which occurs when the body does not produce enough of the male hormone.

Plaintiffs maintain that despite not being designed to treat symptoms of age-related testosterone decline, manufacturers marketed the products as “fountain of youth” drugs to lure men who did not need the treatment to ask for it by name. They claim TRT manufacturers concocted a fictitious condition called “Low T,” which includes symptoms such as low libido, weight gain and muscle loss – all age-related symptoms.

The off-label use is ineffective and even puts men at increased risk of life-threatening events such as heart attacks, strokes and blood clots, the litigation alleges. A jury in July agreed and awarded another plaintiff in the MDL $150 million in punitive damages. It found that AbbVie’s aggressive marketing scheme targeting aging men was fraudulent, Beasley Allen Reported.

Jeffrey’s case is one of seven cases in the class action selected as bellwethers – six of the claims are against AbbVie. The remaining bellwethers are scheduled through next April.

* * *

If you or a loved one has suffered a heart attack or stroke while taking testosterone supplements, or if someone you love has died, you can contact Matt Teague, a lawyer in the firm’s Personal Injury and Product Liability Section at 800-898-2034 or by email at Matt.Teague@beasleyallen.com. More information about testosterone replacement drugs or replacement therapy can be found at http://www.lowt-lawyer.com/.

Sources:
Law.com
Beasley Allen

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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.

Beware: Experts say Equifax data breach ‘free’ monitoring offer raises red flags

posted on:
September 8, 2017

author:
Staff

category:
Fraud

data breach Beware: Experts say Equifax data breach ‘free’ monitoring offer raises red flagsAs Americans come to grips with the gravity of yet another corporate data breach, they are also learning that the offer to monitor their credit free of charge for a year comes at a high price. CBS News reported that the offer by Equifax, the credit reporting agency at the center of the latest compromise of consumers’ personal data, is contingent upon consumers’ agreeing to mandatory arbitration – waiving their Constitutional right to take the company to court.

The breach appears to have occurred months ago, but Equifax only learned about it July 29 and still waited more than a month to publicly disclose the incident. In the meantime, the company was creating a website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, which allows consumers to check and see if their personal information could have been impacted by the breach, according to the Washington Post. Regardless of whether a consumer was one of the 143 million people affected or not, they can opt to enroll in a free credit monitoring service through TrustedID Premier.

The process sounds simple, but it isn’t, and consumer groups warn that red flag issues should make consumers proceed with caution.

First, after a consumer verifies whether their information was potentially impacted, they have the option to click “Enroll.” An auto generated message gives them a date in the future to return to the site and complete the enrollment. So, while their data was compromised months ago, and they have waited to even learn of the breach, they still must wait days to activate the monitoring.

Parsing through the fine print, consumers will note they agree to mandatory arbitration if they opt to use the service. The terms of service appeared to have changed Friday, CBS News noted, and it may be possible to opt-out of arbitration. Even so, the responsibility to opt out will be on customers.

Arbitration clauses, or “rip-off clauses” as consumer rights activist call them, forced on consumers involved in financial transactions may soon be a thing of the past thanks to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB announced rules in July that will block companies “that extend credit or collect debt” from “contractually obligating customers to binding arbitration agreements,” CBS News reported.

Richard Cordray, who heads the CFPB, discussed the new rule in a New York Times commentary saying, “Not only do group lawsuits help consumers recover money they otherwise would forfeit, but they also protect many more consumers by halting and deterring harmful behavior.”

Finally, a cyber-security blog, Krebs on Security, noted that the new website had been reported as a possible phishing attack – potentially subjecting consumers to even further damage. Krebs on Security has previously recommended consumers consider alternative measures to protect themselves from cyber crime, including:

  • Place a fraud alert, or security alert, on your credit file, which lasts for 90 days. The law allows them to be renewed as often as the consumer wishes. A longer-term alert can last up to seven years with proper documentation showing fraud has been committed against a person or is likely to be committed against them. Potential creditors are supposed to contact a consumer and obtain permission before opening new lines of credit in their name if they have a fraud alert in place. A consumer only needs to file a fraud alert with one of the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian or Trans Union). They are required by law to alert the other two bureaus.
  • Place a security freeze, which locks access to a credit file against anyone trying to open a new account or acquire a line of credit in someone’s name. A credit freeze may be less frustrating than a fraud alert if a consumer needs to apply for credit. A freeze can be lifted temporarily by the consumer if they are applying for credit.
  • Monitor your own credit. Consumers can obtain one free credit report from all three major credit bureaus each year. A free copy is available at www.annualcreditreport.com, or call 877-322-8228 to obtain the free report.
  • Consumers also can reduce their exposure to identity theft by opting out of unsolicited credit card or insurance offers. Doing this, via www.optoutprescreen.com, or 888-5OPT-OUT, should block most unsolicited applications and reduce the incidence of identity theft.

Sources:
CBS News
Washington Post
New York Times
Krebs on Security

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.

U.S. intervenes in alleged Los Angeles accessible housing fraud

posted on:
September 8, 2017

author:
Andrew Brashier

category:
Fraud

andew brashier1 U.S. intervenes in alleged Los Angeles accessible housing fraudIn early August, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the United States filed a complaint in intervention against the City of Los Angeles and the former Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA).

The allegation is, together, the CRA/LA and the City of Los Angeles fraudulently obtained millions in housing grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These funds were obtained under the false certification they would be spent in compliance with federal accessibility laws. The complaint in intervention replaces a complaint previously filed on behalf of the United States by a whistleblower under the False Claims Act (FCA).

HUD is a Cabinet department of the Executive branch of the federal government. One of HUD’s primary goals is to establish and maintain a suitable living environment for all Americans. Generally, HUD works to improve and develop communities and additionally enforces fair housing laws.

In this case, HUD granted federal funds to the City of Los Angeles for creation of housing for people with disabilities in compliance with federal accessibility laws. CRA/LA and the city are required by law to comply with federal accessibility laws. However, the City of LA authorized the design and construction of inaccessible buildings.

The complaint includes alleged violations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Housing Act. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination of disabled persons under any program or activity receiving federal funds or conducted by any Executive agency. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against individuals in all areas of public life. The Fair Housing Act protects individuals from discrimination in renting, buying, or securing financing for a home.

In the repeated certification of compliance with federal accessibility laws, the U.S. alleges that the former CRA/LA and the City of LA defrauded the government in direct violation of the FCA.

“Despite the federal government investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Los Angeles to create housing for everyone, the City of Los Angeles instead created housing only for some,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown for the Central District of California. “For 17 years, the city falsely certified that it had complied with federal law and covered up its repeated disregard of historic and important civil rights laws.”

The complaint in intervention is indicative of HUD’s mission to ensure equal access to federally funded public housing. The initial lawsuit was filed in U.S. District court by whistleblowers Mei Ling, a Los Angeles inhabitant who uses a wheelchair, and the Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy group. The U.S. Government elected to intervene in the lawsuit and take over the case, unsealing the whistleblowers’ complaint.

The case against the City of Los Angeles was brought under the qui tam or whistleblower provision of the FCA. This provision allows private parties to sue on behalf of the United States when they believe a party has submitted false claims for government funds. Incentives for blowing the whistle include governmental protection from retaliation and 15 to 25 percent of the recovered funds. This particular case is still pending in District Court.

* * *

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:
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
29 U.S.C. § 701
42 U.S.C. § 3604

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.

FMSCA hosts meeting on trucking safety performance scoring program

posted on:
September 7, 2017

author:
Chris Glover

chris glover FMSCA hosts meeting on trucking safety performance scoring programThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) will host a meeting this week for stakeholders and the public to weigh in on the agency’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative, Transport Topic News reports. The FMSCA launched the CSA initiative in December 2010 to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicles, or CMVs, such as heavy trucks and busses operating across the country.

As Safety and Health Magazine notes, the CSA is used to rank CMVs’ safety records. In 2015, Congress mandated an analysis of the CSA because of the trucking industry’s outcry that it is flawed and unfairly assesses a CMV’s risk potential.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) analyzed the CSA and announced its findings earlier this summer. The NAS concluded that the Safety Measurement System is “conceptually sound,” but advised the agency that it could improve the implementation aspect by developing “a more statistically principled approach.” It suggested the agency consider using an item response theory (IRT) model on a limited basis for two years with full implementation if the model is effective.

The NAS report emphasizes CMVs’ responsibility to maintain the highest level of safety compliance – noting that “[a]bout 100,000 fatality- or injury-causing crashes involving large trucks and busses occur in the United States each year.” It also stresses the importance of the specially trained inspectors that conduct about 3.5 million roadside inspections each year, looking for safety violations that fall under six categories including: unsafe driving, hours of service compliance, vehicle maintenance, controlled substances/alcohol use, hazardous materials compliance, and driver fitness.

Beasley Allen has previously underscored the importance of safety regulations governing the trucking industry and the need for better oversight to ensure the safety of all those who share the roads. Input from the public as well as industry insiders may provide some helpful guidance, but public safety should remain a top priority for any changes to the CSA or other safety regulations intended to keep all road warriors safe.

* * *

Beasley Allen attorney Chris Glover handles cases of personal injury involving heavy trucks, log trucks, 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles. He is practicing in Beasley Allen’s new Atlanta office. For more information about these types of claims, contact him by email at Chris.Glover@BeasleyAllen.com. To get your free copy of “An Introduction to Truck Accident Claims: A Guide to Getting Started,” visit Chris Glover’s website at www.ChrisGlover-Law.com.

Sources:
Transport Topics News
Safety and Health Magazine
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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.

More than 800 Physiomesh incidents filed with FDA report pain, suffering

posted on:
September 6, 2017

author:
Matt Munson

matt munson More than 800 Physiomesh incidents filed with FDA report pain, sufferingAs Beasley Allen previously reported, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) created a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for Physiomesh plaintiffs earlier this summer. The JPML reports the number of pending lawsuits has climbed to 92 since the MDL was created. And, with information collected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) MAUDE reporting system about adverse events involving the product, there is no doubt the claims will continue to rise.

Physiomesh is manufactured by Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. According to Righting Injustice, more than 800 negative incidents involving the mesh have been reported to the FDA’s MAUDE. The system allows doctors and hospitals to provide details about adverse events related to medical devices. Since Physiomesh was first approved by the FDA in 2010, medical professionals have reported 839 such events, including injuries and at least nine deaths, naming the mesh device as the culprit.

Physiomesh, considered a medical device, is made of a flexible plastic called polypropylene and is used to repair weak abdominal muscles, called hernias. It is intended to reinforce the weakened area and prevent the hernia from reopening. Yet, once implanted, Physiomesh begins to erode. It has a higher rate of hernia recurrence and re-opening in patients using the device as compared to patients using similar devices.

Two of the more recent lawsuits, consistent with previous lawsuit claims, provide a glaring backdrop of the pain and suffering patients report is associated with the mesh.

Righting Injustice describes Kathy Edward’s plight as she watched her husband suffer numerous surgeries and countless hours of pain after surgeons used Physiomesh to repair a hernia. The device failed to incorporate into William Edwards’ tissue, which resulted in an infection and required a wound vac to prevent the infection from growing worse. The wound never healed and William died from septic shock, respiratory failure and acute renal failure on January 31, 2017 – 19 months after the initial surgery.

An Alabama man’s lawsuit recounts his own torture from the device and explains how it left him with permanent scarring and other injuries, the Daily Hornet explains. Bill Tedford had a hernia repaired in December 2013 with a Physiomesh patch implant. The device was marketed as a hernia repair device that would prevent or minimize the risk of inflammation and adhesions. The device’s design was also purported to incorporate better into the body’s tissues. However, Ted’s lawsuit explains that it “caused or contributed to an intense inflammatory and chronic foreign body response.” Like William and many others, Ted endured a number of surgeries in order to repair the damage caused by the failed Physiomesh patch.

The embattled mesh maker has settled approximately 3,000 lawsuits due to similar problems with a related product – the company’s Proceed polypropylene transvaginal mesh. The settlement came in January 2016 as part of an MDL. It occurred just months before Ethicon issued a Field Safety Notice and quietly withdrew Physiomesh from markets in the U.S., Europe and Australia because of the product’s high failure rate.

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:
Beasley Allen
U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
Righting Injustice
Daily Hornet

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.

Honda settles Takata airbag MDL for $605 million

posted on:
September 1, 2017

author:
Staff

honda nhtsa takata airbags Honda settles Takata airbag MDL for $605 millionHonda Motor Co. Ltd. agreed Friday to pay $605 million to settle allegations pending in multidistrict litigation (MDL) surrounding exploding Takata airbags. Beasley Allen lawyers W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, who is head of the firm’s Consumer Fraud section, Archie Grubb and Clay Barnett were part of the MDL discovery team in this litigation.

“We are happy to see this latest settlement, which means progress for our clients,” Miles said. “We will continue fighting for the other victims who have suffered from this winding saga of corporate behavior at its worst.”

Honda is the latest automaker to settle in order to exit the MDL. It joins Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and BMW – automakers that settled earlier this year for a combined $553.6 million.

As Beasley Allen has previously reported, Honda was alerted to the safety issues as early as 2004, when an Accord airbag in Alabama exploded and shot shrapnel throughout the vehicle interior. The company settled four lawsuits before issuing a small recall in late 2008. By the following year, four injuries and a death were linked to ruptured airbag inflators in Honda vehicles. The settlement will cover 11.4 million Honda vehicles currently under recall and 5.1 million more vehicles that may be subject to a later recall, Reuters reports.

The U.S. Department of Transportation initiated a recall of Takata airbags in 2015 after determining they were prone to instability. Although other airbag manufacturers refused to do so because of safety concerns, Takata opted to use ammonium nitrate in its airbag inflators. The compound can destabilize over time, particularly if exposed to high temperatures and humidity. This may cause the airbag inflator to explode with excessive force when the airbag is deployed – spewing shrapnel at drivers and passengers.

Now linked to 17 deaths and more than 180 injuries worldwide, the safety recall is the largest in U.S. history. The recall encompasses about 70 million individual airbag units in 42 million vehicles made by 19 different auto manufacturers.

The settlement covers monetary losses for plaintiffs in class action litigation resulting from the massive recall. The settlement covers claims “that vehicles were inaccurately represented to be safe, and that buyers had overpaid for cars with defective or substandard air bags” and covers out-of-pocket costs Honda owners may incur while working to get their airbag replaced or repaired. Additionally, settlement proceeds will be used to establish a customer support program for affected vehicle owners, and to provide them an extended warranty.

In February, Takata executives pleaded guilty to criminal charges and the company has agreed to a $1 billion settlement including agreeing to pay $850 million in restitution to automakers, $125 million for victims and families and a $25 million in a criminal fine. Last month, Delaware bankruptcy judge Brendan L. Shannon, who is overseeing Takata’s bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S., granted the company a 90-day freeze on hundreds of lawsuits and government enforcement actions related to its defective airbags so it can focus on its restructuring under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. However, Judge Shannon he exempted the lawsuits consolidated for MDL in the Southern District of Florida from the freeze because the court sees those lawsuits essentially as one.

The case is In re: Takata Airbag Products Liability Litigation, case number 1:15-md-02599, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

For more information about the Takata airbag recall, visit Beasley Allen’s YouTube page.

Sources:
Law360
Beasley Allen
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.

Beasley Allen lawyer Andrew Brashier named UAB Young Alumni Rising Star

posted on:
September 1, 2017

author:
Staff

category:
Community

andew brashier1 Beasley Allen lawyer Andrew Brashier named UAB Young Alumni Rising StarBeasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. Principal Andrew E. Brashier was recognized as a 2017 Young Alumni Rising Star for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated an ability to excel personally and professionally while committing time and energy to serve the university and local community.

This is the university’s inaugural award, established by the UAB National Alumni Society’s (NAS) Junior Board. The board selected five young alumni who are 35 or younger and are working within their careers and communities to blaze a path for future generations of young alumni for the honor.

“We congratulate Andrew and are proud of the strides he continues to make in his young career,” said Beasley Allen Principal & Managing Attorney Tom Methvin. “His law practice demonstrates his passion to help clients navigate the civil justice system and his volunteer commitments equally reveal his compassion for people.”

In January, Beasley Allen named Brashier a principal at the firm, primarily for his leadership within the firm’s Whistleblower Litigation Team. The team represents clients involved in class action lawsuits and qui tam litigation under the False Claims Act. He has represented multiple whistleblowers retaliated against for reporting corruption and fraud, including one whistleblower who assisted in recovering $39 million for the federal government. He gives voice to whistleblowers who report fraud to the IRS, SEC and Department of Transportation/NHTSA and frequently writes about the topic.

Brashier is currently handling cases against insurance companies for unjustly increasing policyholders’ cost of insurance. He also handles auto defect class actions such as General Motors’ defective ignition switch and Takata’s shrapnel-shooting air bag inflator. Additionally, he represented consumers and financial institutions harmed by the Target, Home Depot and Community Health Systems data breaches and has spoken nationally on the topic. He has fought for consumers in multidistrict litigation class actions such as Toyota’s sudden unintended acceleration and Ford Navistar’s engine defect.

Earlier this summer, Brashier was selected as a 2017 recipient of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Wiedemann & Wysocki Award. The award recognizes lawyers who demonstrate a deep commitment to the profession’s highest standards and who are passionately committed to the principles of the civil justice system and the mission of AAJ. The National Trial Lawyers also named him to the Alabama Top 40 Under 40 list.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by my alma matter for the work I am privileged to be a part of every day,” Brashier said. “I am thankful for the opportunities to represent those who have suffered due to corporate wrongdoing and to assist our clients who have the courage to speak up against fraud. I would not be where I am today without my education at UAB and participation with UAB’s Mock Trial Team.”

Brashier graduated from UAB with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History and from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. He is a member of Taxpayers Against Fraud, a non-profit advocacy organization for whistleblowers, and regularly volunteers and does pro bono work through the Middle District of Alabama Pro Se Assistance Program. Brashier is also a member of the Montgomery County Bar Association Foundation’s Volunteer Lawyer Service Program.

Among his community involvements Brashier serves as a member of the Advisory Board of Directors for Catholic Social Services of Montgomery and formerly as vice-president for the Autauga Interfaith Care Center. He also volunteers as the Chancellor for the Anglican Church in North America’s Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy and is a Governance Task Force member with the Anglican Church in North America.

The NAS will celebrate the Young Alumni Rising Star Award winners during a celebration in September.

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.

Another pharmacy company settles Exjade kickback allegations

posted on:
September 1, 2017

author:
Larry Golston

category:
Fraud

larry golston1 Another pharmacy company settles Exjade kickback allegationsUS Bioservices Corp. has agreed to pay $13.4 million to resolve allegations that it engaged in a kickback scheme with Novartis to boost sales of Exjade, a blood iron treatment, in exchange for patient referrals and other benefits.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, the resolution requires US Bioservices to pay approximately $10.6 million to the United States and nearly $3 million to settle state law and civil fraud claims related to the impact of the illegal kickback scheme on state Medicaid programs.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim alleged in a False Claims Act lawsuit that federal state health care programs were illegally billed for Exjade, and that US Bioservices had its nurses call patients to recommend they order prescription refills. Exjade can have serious adverse effects on a patient’s health, including kidney and liver failure and gastrointestinal bleeding, court documents said.

In previous lawsuits, the U.S. government sued Novartis and the two other specialty pharmacies that participated in the same Exjade kickback scheme. The government settled those lawsuits when Novartis agreed to pay $390 million and the other pharmacies involved collectively paid $75 million.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Novartis launched its Exjade kickback scheme in 2005 when it became concerned that many patients were discontinuing their use of the drug because they were worried about its serious, life-threatening side effects.

When Novartis gained FDA approval for Exjade, it created a closed distribution network that included US Bioservices and two other pharmaceutical providers, BioScrip and Accredo, which together dispensed most of the Exjade prescriptions in the U.S. Novartis was able to easily monitor and manipulate Exjade prescriptions sold through this small, limited network.

The scheme also gave Novartis more control over Exjade prescriptions by rewarding the distributor company that sold the most units of the drug with rebates, discounts, and other illegal kickbacks.

According to the federal government’s complaint, US Bioservices and Novartis entered into a kickback arrangement “pursuant to which [US Bioservices] was promised additional patient referrals and related benefits in return for refilling a higher percentage of Exjade than the two other pharmacies …”

“The integrity of the federal health care system requires that all providers, including pharmacies like US Bioservices, refrain from entering into kickback relationships,” said U.S. Attorney Joon. “When health care providers accept kickbacks, they violate the law, subject what should be health-based decision-making to the influence of profit-seeking drug manufacturers, and thereby put their own financial interests ahead of the interests of their patients. This Office will continue to use its law enforcement tools to pursue healthcare providers who accept kickbacks or otherwise put their profits ahead of patient safety.”

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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.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

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