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Judge awards whistleblower $318k in case against Philly School District


A former Philadelphia School District administrator who claims he was fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on a mishandled $7.5-million security-camera contract will receive a $318,000 award, a Philadelphia federal judge ordered on Monday. Francis X. Dougherty sued the Philadelphia School District, its former top human resources official, Estelle Matthews, and the estate of Arlene Ackerman, who died in February 2013, alleging he was wrongfully suspended and subsequently fired for talking to the press about the dubious contract. Mr. Dougherty’s lawsuit claimed that Ms. Ackerman violated his First Amendment right to free speech by placing him on leave from ... Read More

UPS whistleblower helps U.S. recover $25 million for late-delivery refunds


United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) has agreed to pay the U.S. government $25 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged the delivery service took measures that prevented federal agencies from getting a refund on packages delivered after the guaranteed delivery date. The federal government contracts UPS through the General Services Administration (GSA) and U.S. Transportation Command to provide delivery services to the Defense Department and other federal agencies. Under these contracts, UPS guarantees it will deliver packages by specified times the following day. However, according to a former UPS employee, for at least a decade UPS concealed its failure ... Read More

First Blue Bell lawsuit filed after listeria-related illness

Recall - blue bell ice cream cups

Blue Bell has now been confronted by its first recall-related lawsuit, alleging the company’s products caused one ex-Houston, Texas, resident to contract listeria-related meningitis while working at a retirement complex. According to the Blue Bell lawsuit, David Philip Shockley was employed as the associate executive director of nursing at the retirement community, Eagle’s Trace. While on the job in October 2013, Shockley ate Blue Bell ice cream purchased by his superiors. Not long after consuming the Blue Bell products, Shockley called 911 for assistance, but was diagnosed with migraine and sent home. Shockley then collapsed alone at his home just hours ... Read More

Judge gives green light to nurse’s whistleblower case against California hospital


A registered nurse who accuses Marshall Medical Center in Placerville, Calif., and two physicians of billing fraud and illegal retaliation will see her whistleblower case go to trial, a Sacramento district court judge has ruled. Colleen Herren, who worked as a clinical nursing director for specialty clinics at Marshall Medical Center from 2010 to 2011, alleges she warned hospital management about a lack of physician oversight in patient care, double billing for chemotherapy drugs, and billing for physician visits that never occurred. Ms. Herren also alleges that she was fired in retaliation after she continued to voice her concerns about ... Read More

Trucking firms allege Pilot Flying J rebate scam was bigger than most realized


Several trucking firms that refused to settle fraud claims with truck-stop chain Pilot Flying J say that they have discovered another dimension of the alleged fraud that other trucking companies overlooked. In November 2013, Pilot Flying J, the largest travel center chain in the U.S., agreed to pay $85 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging the company defrauded thousands of trucking firms by not paying them the proper fuel rebates. According to that complaint, the plaintiffs agreed to buy fuel exclusively from Pilot Flying J in exchange for lower fuel prices, which were to be based on the cost ... Read More

Siemens settles allegations it overcharged U.S. military for medical equipment


Siemens Medical Solutions USA Inc., a unit of the German multinational engineering conglomerate Siemens AG, has agreed to pay the U.S. $5.9 million to end a dispute with federal prosecutors that it overcharged the U.S. government for medical imaging equipment. According to a complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Malvern, Penn.-based Siemens Medical Solutions failed its contractual obligation with the Defense Supply Center of Philadelphia to provide the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs the largest available discount on medical equipment. Federal prosecutors alleged that Siemens Medical Solutions sold a “like system” to a ... Read More

Heart safety trial on diet drug Contrave halted prematurely

bathroom scale

Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co. is threatening to sever its partnership with Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. after a safety study on the diet drug Contrave was halted because trial data was released prematurely. Orexigen had announced last March – when only about 25 percent of the data was in – that early data from a clinical trial to evaluate cardiovascular outcomes with Contrave showed patients taking the obesity medication had a reduction in heart-related deaths. The information was released as part of a patent application. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criticized Orexigen for releasing the information too soon, saying the trial’s integrity had ... Read More

TenPoint crossbow recall initiated after reports of unexpected firing

Recall - crossbow

Nearly 127,000 TenPoint and Wicked Ridge crossbows are now under recall by TenPoint Crossbow Technologies and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The crossbow recall claims that even if the safety has been engaged, the crossbows may fire in certain situations if the trigger is pulled. The TenPoint crossbow recall includes nine models within two brands of crossbows. The crossbows can be identified by their serial numbers, which can be seen on the left side of the barrel, right below the trigger box. For all except the GT Flex model, the brand name TenPoint or Wicked Ridge is printed on ... Read More

Endo announces transvaginal mesh settlement agreement

transvaginal mesh

Endo International PLC, has reached a settlement with about 108 plaintiffs in a multidistrict litigation claiming that the company’s subsidiary American Medical Systems’ transvaginal mesh was defectively designed and caused injuries. All parties have until April 2016 to submit an agreed order of dismissal with prejudice or the cases would be dismissed without prejudice. The settlement agreement comes about a month after Endo “compromised and settled all claims” from another 360 cases, 30 of which Endo had requested claims against other manufacturers of transvaginal mesh, including Boston Scientific and C.R. Bard, be transferred to multidistrict litigations for those companies. Last ... Read More

Whistleblower complaint leads to $15.69 million recovery for Medicare


Sixteen U.S. hospitals and their parent companies have agreed to pay the U.S. $15.69 million collectively to resolve allegations brought by a whistleblower under the False Claims Act that they fraudulently billed Medicare for services that were not medically reasonable or necessary. The case concerns claims for reimbursement the hospitals made to Medicare for Intensive Outpatient Psychotherapy services. Medicare pays for an appropriate course of the psychotherapy services when a number of specific requirements are met, the most notable being that the services provided are needed for the diagnosis and treatment of the patient’s condition. The whistleblower lawsuit alleged that from ... Read More