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complaint 31 articles

FBI Launches Investigation After Busting Lawyer For Selling Sealed Whistleblower lawsuit

The FBI has launched a sweeping investigation into the circumstances surrounding a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney who was arrested in January after he was caught trying to sell a secret whistleblower lawsuit. According to Bloomberg, FBI agents are questioning Justice Department lawyers about Jeffrey Wertkin, their former colleague who left the agency last April to work for a private D.C. firm. Investigators are trying to determine whether someone within the Justice Department provided Mr. Wertkin a copy of the False Claims Act lawsuit or if he took a copy with him when he left the agency. An FBI ... Read More

SEC Awards Whistleblower More Than $325,000

A former investment firm employee who tipped the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with specific information about fraudulent activity within an unidentified firm has received a whistleblower award of more than $325,000. The SEC said that the whistleblower’s tips enabled its enforcement staff to open an investigation and uncover the extent of the fraudulent activity within the company. To protect the identities of whistleblowers who risk their careers to report wrongdoing, the SEC never releases specific information about the companies involved in whistleblower complaints. “The whistleblower provided a detailed description of the misconduct and specifically identified individuals behind the ... Read More

OSHA Introduces Whistleblower Complaint Resolution Program

Whistleblowers who turn to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for assistance in resolving a complaint with an employer now have access to a new process the agency has implemented to bring the two sides of a whistleblower complaint to an agreement. OSHA’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program allows parties to a whistleblower complaint the opportunity to negotiate a settlement with “the assistance of a neutral, confidential OSHA rep” who has “expertise in whistleblower investigations,” the agency said in a statement about the new program. “OSHA receives several thousand whistleblower complaints for investigation each year,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for ... Read More

Duke Energy agrees to coal ash spill cleanup plan with federal officials

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Thursday that it and Duke Energy of North Carolina agreed on a plan to clean up the energy company’s massive coal ash spill that flooded the Dan River with about 40,000 tons of toxic coal waste February 2. According to the terms of the agreement, the EPA will supervise Duke Energy’s spill cleanup efforts. The North Carolina Department of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and federal wildlife officials will also provide input and consultation. Duke is required to reimburse the EPA for all costs the agency incurs in ... Read More

Man alleges faulty guardrail amputated his legs in crash

A North Carolina man has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Trinity Industries Inc. and Trinity Highway Products LLC after a guardrail manufactured by the companies cut through the floorboard of his Isuzu SUV during a January collision and severed both of his legs below the knee. Jay Traylor, now a 36-year-old double-amputee, is one of many plaintiffs across the country suing Trinity industries, a major manufacturer of guardrails whose products are installed along highways in virtually every state. Like other plaintiffs, Mr. Traylor alleges Trinity changed the design of its ET-Plus guardrail system, without the required approval of federal authorities, ... Read More

Whistleblower claims highway guardrails are killing, maiming motorists

Highway guardrails installed to protect motorists are instead causing people all over the country to be killed, disfigured and injured, alleges a whistleblower in a lawsuit set to be tried this summer. According to Seattle’s Q13Fox, whistleblower plaintiff Joshua Harman alleges that Dallas, Texas-based Trinity Industries changed the design of its ET-Plus guardrail systems as a money-saving measure. He alleges the guardrail manufacturer implemented the changes, reducing key dimensions, without the government’s approval. Mr. Harman, a certified guardrail engineer, claims the popular guardrails, which are used all over the country, are failing at an alarming rate because of the changes. ... Read More

Duke Energy says customers will pay its hefty coal ash cleanup costs

Duke Energy’s CEO Lynn Good said that its customers will pay the costs of cleaning up dozens of the company’s toxic waste sites throughout North Carolina, many of which are contaminating the groundwater with arsenic and heavy metals. Last week, a North Carolina Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the Southern Environmental Law Center, ordering Duke to take “immediate action” to stop its 33 coal ash ponds across the state from further contaminating the groundwater with arsenic, mercury, lead, and several other toxic heavy metals and contaminants. The order was issued after one of Duke’s coal ash ponds spilled ... Read More

Judge allows whistleblower case against global trucking firm to proceed

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A U.S. District Judge in South Carolina said Tuesday a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act against a global trucking firm may proceed to trial. The lawsuit seeks millions of dollars from Covan Worldwide Moving, a Midland City, Ala.-based company that ships the household belongings of military and civilian personnel around the world. In a Tuesday hearing, Judge Joe Anderson dismissed part of the lawsuit that accuses Covan of engaging “in an intracorporate conspiracy” to defraud the U.S. government, citing insufficient evidence that the company conspired with other businesses to carry out its scheme on ... Read More

Toxic coal ash sludge blankets more than 70 miles of riverbed, lake bottoms

While North Carolina environmental regulators have been downplaying the risks posed by Duke Energy’s massive coal ash spill, U.S. officials said Tuesday that the highly toxic coal ash has coated the bottom of the Dan River up to 70 miles downstream of the spill site. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said that near Duke Energy’s Dan River facility, the toxic sludge has formed a giant pile 75 feet long and 5 feet deep. More than 82,000 tons of coal ash containing arsenic, heavy metals, and other toxins flowed into the Dan River Feb. 2 from a 27-acre ash pond ... Read More

N.C. toxic coal ash cleanup mired in political interests

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources asked a judge last week to throw out its own proposed settlement with Duke Energy over pollution leaking from waste dumps at its power plants. The state agency requested the action the day after an Associated Press (AP) story was published, describing the settlement as a “sweetheart deal” between state regulators and Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electrical company. The proposed settlement would have had Duke pay fines of just $99,111 for pollution that spilled from coal ash dumps in Asheville and Charlotte. State regulators and Duke reached the settlement before ... Read More