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Florida 366 articles

Whistleblower files retaliation lawsuit against JC Penny


A former JC Penny employee has filed a retaliation lawsuit against the retail giant, alleging it retaliated against him for voicing concerns over practices, he says, were designed to cheat customers. Robert Blatchford, who worked in JC Penny’s custom decorating department in St. Petersburg, Fla., between 2007 and 2009 and again on a part-time basis from August 2012 to July 2013, filed a complaint against the company under Florida’s Private Whistleblower Act, which prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who discloses, threatens to disclose, objects to, or refuses to participate in a violation of the law. According to Fortune, ... Read More

Whistleblower lawsuit against Adventist hospital network recovers $5.4 million for U.S.


A Florida oncologist will receive more than $1 million for his role in exposing False Claims Act violations in several Florida hospitals operated by the Adventist Health System Sunbelt Healthcare Corporation. The U.S. Justice Department said that Adventist has agreed to pay $5,412,502 to settle allegations filed in a whistleblower complaint by Dr. Michael Montejo, a radiation oncologist and former employee of Florida Oncology Network P.A., a radiation oncology group. In his lawsuit, Dr. Montejo claimed that several Adventist hospitals in Florida were providing radiation oncology services to Medicare and TRICARE (the Defense Department’s health care program) beneficiaries that weren’t ... Read More

Safety agencies unite globally against liquid laundry packet poisonings

Detergent pods

More than 20 countries around the world have agreed to join forces with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the fight against poisonings related to single-load liquid laundry packets. Thanks to the efforts of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which concentrates on global human health issues by sharing vital information and coordinating with governments everywhere, international government agencies are now spreading the word about laundry packet-related exposure prevention. According to the CPSC, nearly 80,000 children suffered unintentional poisoning and were treated in emergency departments in 2013. One of the top 10 products responsible for pediatric ... Read More

Construction giant settles whistleblower allegations it swiped contracts meant for disabled vets


The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday it has reached a $1.1 million settlement with Gilbane Building Company to resolve whistleblower allegations that a Gilbane subsidiary created a front company as a means of getting government contracts intended for disabled veteran-owned businesses. The lawsuit, filed by Michael Jeske and Samuel McIntosh under the False Claims Act in a Florida federal court, claimed that subsidiary company W.G. Mills, a Florida construction company now doing business as Mills Gilbane, violated the False Claims Act by creating a fictitious company called Veterans Constructors Incorporated. Mr. Jeske and Mr. McIntosh alleged that Veterans Constructors Inc. ... Read More

Florida home health care company settles whistleblower lawsuit for $1.1 million


A Florida home health care company has agreed to pay the U.S. government $1.1 million to resolve a whistleblower lawsuit brought against it by a former employee, who alleged the company entered into improper financial arrangements with doctors and violated federal anti-kickback laws. The complaint, filed by whistleblower Gregory Simony in a U.S. court in Tampa, Fla., alleged that Recovery Home Care Inc., Recovery Home Care Services Inc. (collectively Recovery Home Care), and National Home Care Holdings LLC paid dozens of physicians thousands of dollars each month to perform patient chart reviews that involved little or no work. West Palm Beach, ... Read More

Lawsuit for Takata airbag death reveals horrific blast injuries

Honda Takata airbags

A lawsuit filed by the family of a Texas man who was killed January 18 when a Takata-made airbag exploded in his Honda Accord describes the injuries that the defective safety devices are capable of inflicting, even when the accidents that cause them to deploy aren’t severe. Carlos Solis, 35, was driving his 2002 Honda Accord in Spring, Texas, when an oncoming car traveling about 30 mph clipped the font-left corner of his vehicle as it was stopped. Although mild, the impact triggered the airbag to deploy. Instead of properly inflating, however, the Takata airbag exploded like a bomb with ... Read More

Whistleblower exposes wastewater dumping from Italian ship


Illegal dumping of waste into U.S. waters is a fast, convenient, and cheap way for some shipping firms to dispose of the polluted water they have accumulated onboard during long overseas stretches, but fortunately some of these ships are staffed with conscientious workers who document the illegal activity and report it to the proper authorities. The latest offender to be exposed is an Italian shipping firm, Carbofin S.p.A., which owns and operates the M/T Marigola. According to the U.S. Justice Department, during 2013 and 2014, senior members of the crew of the M/T Marigola directed ship hands to install and use a so-called ... Read More

Whistleblower accuses largest U.S. hospital operator of fraud


A former employee of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the largest publicly traded hospital system in the nation, filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the company, alleging it subjected patients to medically unnecessary heart surgeries and submitted false claims to the federal government for reimbursement. Christopher Gentile, who served as the professional liability claims director for an HCA subsidiary in Tennessee, filed the whistleblower lawsuit in February 2012 in a Miami, Fla., federal court. The lawsuit was unsealed on Monday. Mr. Gentile accuses two HCA hospitals in Florida of performing high-risk, invasive and medically unneeded cardiology procedures on patients so it ... Read More

Cases of superbug outbreaks likely grossly underreported


Specialized endoscopes at the center of a deadly superbug outbreak at UCLA Medical Center were discovered to be the same type of surgical equipment implicated in a previously unreported outbreak in Florida six years ago, raising concerns that cases of infection may be grossly underreported. Revelation of the Florida outbreak, which sickened 70 patients and contributed to the deaths of 15 patients, is one of a handful of outbreaks that have come to light since the UCLA incident was made public last month. Outbreaks were discovered at two separate hospitals in Florida. The scopes at the center of the controversy ... Read More

Analysis: Statins benefits overrated, side effects underreported


Statin medications, such as the widely prescribed Lipitor, can drive down elevated cholesterol levels, but they have failed to substantially improve users’ chances of having a heart attack or stroke. The drugs also have numerous serious side effects that are pushed under the radar by supporters of statin therapy, according to a study published in the March edition of the medical journal Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology. Dr. David M. Diamond, a professor of psychology, molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University of South Florida, and Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, an independent health researcher and an expert in cholesterol and cardiovascular ... Read More