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Consumer Fraud 455 articles

Investment and securities fraud is one area of consumer fraud litigation pursued by the attorneys at Beasley Allen. Litigation includes individual cases as well as class actions that have been filed throughout the country. Cases in this area also involve matters including wrongful conduct of insurance and finance companies including fraud and bad faith, mortgage loan fraud, general consumer fraud and employment issues. Pending cases include securities and investment fraud litigation against companies including Stanford Securities and Regions Morgan Keegan, among others.

Our firm also is representing people who have been taken advantage of in the workplace, through violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In these cases, employers intentionally misclassify employees as independent contractors or managers in order to reduce costs such as overtime compensation, employee benefits, payroll taxes, unemployment compensation and workers compensation.

Whistleblower lawsuit says the Art Institutes corporation is duping veterans

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Education Management Corporation (EDMC), a for-profit chain of colleges, manipulated student job placement data to attract as many students as possible and to maximize the amount of taxpayer-subsidized federal student loan money, a whistleblower lawsuit unsealed in federal court last week alleges. The lawsuit is the third whistleblower case to be filed against the EDMC, which owns the giant Art Institutes chain comprised of more than 50 campuses throughout North America. The U.S. Justice Department and four states intervened in another whistleblower complaint brought against EDMC in 2007 alleging the college corporation defrauded the government by paying recruiters based on ... Read More

Mercedes-Benz faces lawsuit over fuel leaks in E-Class vehicles

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Mercedes-Benz USA, parent company Daimler AG, and 15 Meredes-Benz dealerships in New Jersey have been hit with a federal lawsuit claiming gasoline leaks in certain E-Class model vehicles exposed occupants to serious health risks. Defects in the fuel delivery system of 2003 to 2009 E-Class model vehicles cause gasoline and vapor to seep into the cars, the lawsuit alleges. Gasoline vapor is a suspected carcinogen that can cause liver damage, harm to developing fetuses and problems with female fertility. The fumes are also a fire hazard because the vehicles are sold with ashtrays and cigarette lighters. Since Mercedes-Benz reasonably expects ... Read More

Retaliation against corporate whistleblowers surges in the U.S.

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A surge of retaliation against corporate whistleblowers is taking place in the U.S., pushing the number of reports of wrongful termination, verbal and physical abuse and harassment, threats, and intimidation experienced by employees to an all-time high. Nearly half of U.S. workers have observed instances of serious fraud and other forms of misconduct at their place of work, the Ethics Resource Center (ERC) says in its latest National Business Ethics Survey (NBES). Of the 45 percent of workers who experienced or observed wrongdoing on the job, 65 percent voiced their concerns or objections to their supervisors, the ERC said. Twenty-two ... Read More

Stryker subsidiary ordered to pay millions in penalties involving illegal marketing practices

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It’s been a difficult year for medical device maker Stryker. The company agreed last month to pay $1.43 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits claiming its metal-on-metal hip replacement was defective, causing injuries and poisoning patients who had them. This week, following a federal criminal investigation, Stryker subsidiary OtisMed Corp. and its former CEO pleaded guilty to selling unapproved surgical products and agreed to paying penalties that, along with a settlement of a related action, add up to more than $80 million. The latest development involves OtisMed’s OtisKnee guides used in knee replacement procedures to help surgeons make more accurate ... Read More

Whistleblower says drug maker Sanfoi fired her for standing up against illegal kickback scheme

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A former employee of French drug maker Sanfoi SA has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the company, claiming she was fired in retaliation for objecting to a multi-million kickback scheme designed to boost sales of its insulin drugs. Diane Ponte, a former paralegal who approved contracts in Sanofi’s diabetes division, says Sanofi fired her in October after months of frequent verbal attacks, violent threats, and other forms of retaliation by superiors. Ms. Ponte says at one time a manager even grabbed and yanked her. The plaintiff says that the abuse was in response to her refusal to sign allegedly improper ... Read More

The Year of Recalls: What To Expect and How To Handle Your Vehicle Recall

GM recall

If you were previously unaware of the world of car recalls, 2014 was likely your wake-up call. Dubbed the Year of Recalls, 2014 is on record as the worst year for recalls in U.S. automobile history. More than 53 million cars have been recalled due to both minor and major safety problems. Even more shocking, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that nearly a quarter of these vehicles will go unrepaired – the equivalent of more than 13 million potentially dangerous cars. This fact leaves unsuspecting used-car buyers at the mercy of their pre-owned vehicle’s past owner, hoping ... Read More

Rite Aid pays settles whistleblower allegations it lured Medicare beneficiaries with gift cards

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National retail drugstore chain Rite-Aid has paid the U.S. nearly $3 million to resolve whistleblower allegations brought under the False Claims Act that it used gift cards to manipulate Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries into transferring their prescriptions to Rite-Aid. The Department of Justice said Wednesday that from 2008 to 2010 Rite Aid engaged in an “illegal” and “inappropriate” scheme to use gift cards as a way to lure new business to its stores from those who rely on government-funded health care programs. The company settled the allegations for $2.99 million. “Pharmacies are not allowed to improperly influence the decision-making of ... Read More

Appeals court tosses whistleblower lawsuit under first-to-file rule

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Two whistleblowers who sued pharmaceutical companies under the False Claims Act for allegedly inflating wholesale drug prices to Medicare and Medicaid  lost their appeal to have their case reopened because they weren’t the first to file a complaint. A First Circuit Panel ruled Monday that Linnette Sun, a former Express Scripts Inc. employee, and Greg Hamilton, a former Baxter Healthcare Corp. executive, can’t reopen a $29.8 million lawsuit in multidistrict litigation. The pair had appealed the decision of a Massachusetts federal judge who tossed their whistleblower lawsuit in May 2013, arguing that the ruling could discourage other potential whistleblowers from ... Read More

Whistleblowers help U.S. recover $850,000 from Massachusetts sleep apnea company

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A Massachusetts-based oxygen and sleep therapy company has agreed to pay the U.S. more than $850,000 to settle allegations brought forward by a whistleblower that it billed Medicare and Medicaid for medical services that were provided by unlicensed personnel. According to the U.S. Justice Department, two employees of North Atlantic Medical Services Inc., doing business as Regional Home Care Inc., filed the whistleblower lawsuit under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private individuals to sue on behalf of the federal government and share up to 30 percent of any recovery. The employees, Konstantinos Gakis and ... Read More

SEC whistleblower program gained momentum in its third year

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that the number of whistleblower tips it received in fiscal year 2014 climbed again to its highest level since Congress created the agency’s Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program three years ago. In its annual report, the agency said the SEC whistleblower program had received more than 3,620 tips from whistleblowers in fiscal year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014), up nearly 10 percent from the 3,328 tips that it received in fiscal year 2013. The SEC compiles the report to monitor the health of the program and keep track of how much it ... Read More