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Preparation is key to a successful whistleblower case

Fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and other forms of wrongdoing are all too common in both the private and public sectors of society these days – an unfortunate fact that elevates the role of the whistleblower in the fight against misconduct and corruption. With lawyers seeing more and more potential whistleblower cases pour in, it’s vital that whistleblowers properly document and state their case before taking it to a lawyer for review. After whistleblowers select experienced and competent legal counsel for their False Claims Act case, they should prepare a concise and well documented “pitch.” The Taxpayers Against Fraud (TAF) Education Fund ... Read More

Whistleblower gets nearly $I million for exposing potentially deadly Army Humvee fraud

A Minnesota whistleblower who warned his employer, M.K. Battery, and the U.S. Defense Department of a battery change in Humvee vehicles that could have deadly consequences for U.S. combat soldiers has won nearly $1 million in a $5.5-million settlement. David McIntosh, 49, worked as a regional sales representative for M.K. Battery when he repeatedly tried and failed to get his superiors to inform the U.S. Army about a battery change that drastically reduced the life expectancy of the power sources controlling gun turrets on the Humvee. With his concerns falling on deaf ears, Mr. McIntosh contacted the Defense Department directly ... Read More

Whistleblower settles wrongful termination case with Caddo Parish DA’s office

SHREVEPORT, La. – An investigator for the Caddo Parish, La., District Attorney’s Office who claimed he was fired in retaliation for reporting the D.A. office’s unorthodox purchase of several automatic weapons has settled a wrongful termination lawsuit for $447,000. According to the Shreveport Times, former Caddo District Attorney chief investigator Don Ashley said he grew concerned as District Attorney Charles Scott and assistant prosecutors began engaging in unusual “police-like behavior, including outfitting their vehicles with lights and sirens, making traffic stops, and wearing SWAT-type clothing during work hours.” This militant activity, which Mr. Ashley said began in 2009, eventually led ... Read More

U.S. Attorney General Holder calls for better whistleblower rewards in financial industry

Whistleblowers who help expose fraud and other misconduct in the financial world could earn bigger rewards in the future in exchange for the efforts, if U.S, Attorney General Eric Holder has his way. Threats brewing in the financial industry today have come to resemble some of the dubious greed-driven behaviors that devastated the U.S. economy in 2008 despite the government’s efforts to prevent a similar catastrophe from recurring in the coming years. “We are already witnessing a troubling return to some of the very same profit-driven risk-taking that contributed to the 2008 collapse,” Mr. Holder said in a speech Wednesday ... Read More

Chicago State University loses appeal in landmark whistleblower case

CHICAGO, Ill. – Chicago State University lost its appeal of a verdict in a whistleblower case and must reinstate an employee it fired for exposing corruption within the school and pay him more than $3 million in damages, a Cook County judge ordered on Thursday. The case stems from a lawsuit filed in 2010 against Chicago State University by James Crowley, a former university attorney who alleged he was fired after he refused to withhold documents requested under the state of Illinois’ public records law and for reporting questionable contracts signed by top university officials to the Illinois attorney general’s ... Read More

Oregon sues Oracle over failed health insurance enrollment system, cites whistleblower tips

The State of Oregon is relying on whistleblower allegations as part of a potential multi-billion-dollar lawsuit it filed against software manufacturer Oracle America and six of its top executives over the state’s failed health insurance exchange website that left state residents without a way to register for health insurance. Oregon contracted with Oracle to develop the state’s health insurance website, which was called Cover Oregon. The website was allegedly so full of glitches that it never launched publicly, leaving the state in a scramble to find, hire, and train hundreds of workers to process health insurance applications by hand. According ... Read More

Long hours, fatigue made deadly Arizona fuel truck crash inevitable, whistleblower says

Arizona officials investigating the deadly August 1 crash of an asphalt oil truck in North Phoenix said that driver fatigue was to blame, and a whistleblower has bolstered those findings with claims that Cactus Transport forces its drivers to work dangerously long driving shifts without a break. Witnesses told investigators that they noticed the oil tanker swerving in the southbound lanes on Interstate 17 just before 5 a.m. The truck then ran onto the median, struck a sign post, and rolled over. The driver of the truck was killed. No other vehicles were involved, but the crash ruptured the tank ... Read More

Feds side with Oregon truck driver whistleblower, order reinstatement and back pay

An Oregon truck driver who filed a whistleblower complaint against her employer alleging she was fired for refusing to drive an unsafe truck will receive back wages and compensation for legal fees in addition to being reinstated to her job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced. After completing an investigation of the complaint, OSHA ordered Terry Unrein, an independent trucking contractor based in Gresham, Ore., to reinstate the driver, who was fired in late 2011 after she refused to drive a five-ton truck with inadequate tire tread on public highways. According to OSHA, Terry Unrein fired the driver ... Read More

Federal agencies partner up to improve whistleblower protections for commercial drivers

Better oversight of whistleblower protections afforded by the federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) is the aim of a memorandum of understanding signed by leaders of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The joint effort will strengthen coordination and cooperation between the two agencies, resulting in better anti-retaliation protections for employees of the commercial truck and bus industries. According to OSHA, the memorandum “allows for the exchange of safety, coercion and retaliation allegations when received by one agency, that fall under the authority of the other.” The STAA shields drivers and ... Read More

Company ordered to reinstate, compensate truck drivers it fired for voicing safety concerns

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered Pontiac, Mich.-based Asphalt Specialists Inc. to pay $1 million in back wages and damages and reinstate a foreman and two truck drivers who were fired after voicing safety concerns. According to OSHA, Asphalt Specialists fired the foreman on June 30, 2012, after he repeatedly raised concerns to the company’s co-owner about being forced to exceed hours-of-service (HOS) rules, which regulate commercial drivers’ periods of work and rest and are intended to mitigate driver fatigue. Company managers “repeatedly failed to allow for the 10-hour rest period mandated by the Department of Transportation,” ... Read More