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Ship Captain Awarded $1.1 Million In Whistleblower Retaliation Case

whistleblower retaliation

The captain of a cargo ship who alleged he was fired for reporting safety violations to the U.S. Coast Guard has been awarded more than $1 million in back pay, damages, and other compensation by a U.S. Labor Department administrative law judge. The award is the largest damages award ever under the whistleblower provisions of the federal Seaman’s Protection Act (SPA). According to the Connecticut Law Tribune, John Loftus, Captain of the 813-foot-long container ship Horizon Trader, filed a complaint with the U.S. Labor Department claiming he was unlawfully terminated for reporting ship malfunctions that went unfixed and other safety ... Read More

Whistleblower’s False Claims Act Lawsuit Accuses Lincare Inc. of Defrauding Medicare

Pills - Stethoscope on Money

A False Claims Act lawsuit filed against medical equipment supplier Lincare Inc. by a whistleblower who accuses the company of bilking the U.S. government out of “tens, if not hundreds, of millions” of dollars was unsealed last week in a Florida federal court. According to Law 360, Rebecca Saiff, a former Medicare billing specialist at Lincare, alleges that her former employer “incentivized employees at each of its stores to submit false claims” by paying store managers and salespersons commissions on claims whether or not those claims were qualified for reimbursement. This practice allowed Lincare to bill the government for home ... Read More

U.S. Settles Healthcare Fraud Case With Highest-Paid U.S. Cardiologist

Pills - Stethoscope on Money

The U.S. Department of Justice said a Florida cardiologist who was once the highest Medicare-paid cardiologist in the U.S. will pay the federal government $2 million and release all claims to $5.3 million in suspended Medicare funds to settle a whistleblower lawsuit accusing him of healthcare fraud. Dr. Asad Qamar of Ocala, Fla., and his practice, the Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence (ICE), are also barred from participating in any federal health care program for three years. After that period has ended and they resume filing claims for reimbursement to Medicare and other government programs, a three-year Integrity Agreement with the ... Read More

Five Dead, Several Injured in bus crash With Tractor Trailer in Florida Panhandle

bus crash with tractor trailer, Tallahassee, Wakulla - WCTV image

Florida authorities investigating a fiery crash near Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday morning said the driver of a bus failed to stop at a flashing red intersection light when it collided with a tractor trailer. The bus crash killed five people and injured at least 18 others. The repurposed 1979 Bluebird school bus was carrying about 35 migrant Haitian farmworkers from Bainbridge, Ga., south to the coastal community of St. Marks in Wakulla County, Fla., when the crash occurred around 5 a.m. Despite rumble strips leading to the red light at the intersection of 363 and Coastal Highway 98, the bus continued ... Read More

OSHA’s Heat Illness Safety Campaign Focuses On Southern States

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In 2014, 2,630 U.S. workers suffered from heat illness and 18 died from heat stroke and other heat-related related causes on the job. With 2016 set to be even hotter across much of the nation than 2014, federal safety regulators are holding heat illness awareness and training events across the Southeastern states. From June 27 to July 1, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) worked with employers and trade associations to conduct a one-hour “Safety Stand-Down” at construction sites and other workplaces in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. During these Safety Stand Downs, workers ... Read More

Tesla confirms First-Ever driver death in Self-Driving Car

Tesla automobile

Tesla has confirmed the first-ever fatal accident involving an autonomous or “self-driving “ car occurred in May when a Tesla Model S operating in autopilot crashed into the side of a tractor trailer in Florida. Joshua Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, died when his autonomous Tesla car failed to apply its brakes as a tractor trailer turned left in front of it. The May 7 crash occurred on a divided highway in Williston, Fla. Tesla is one of several automakers and technology companies that have been testing “driverless” cars, which at this point can operate in autopilot mode with a ... Read More

Ocwen Financial Settles Whistleblower Lawsuits Alleging Mortgage Fraud

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Ocwen Financial Corp. has agreed to pay $30 million to tentatively settle a pair of False Claims Act lawsuits filed by whistleblowers who accused the mortgage lender of failing to comply with disclosure rules in connection with the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The agreement in principle, which must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ), came days before the case was to go to trial June 27. The agreement requires the West Palm Beach, Fla., company to pay the federal government $15 million. The other half will cover attorneys’ fees and other costs accrued by the whistleblowers. ... Read More

NW Florida woman raises awareness about potential dangers of breast implants

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A Florida woman who appeared on an episode of The Animal Planet show “Monsters Inside Me,” which featured the removal of her saline-filled breast implants that were covered in mold and making her sick, will return to the program to raise awareness of the possible dangers of breast implants. Since Anne Ziegenhorn’s story was featured on The Animal Planet last November, she says she has talked to more than 2,000 women who have suffered from the same ailment. The women have experienced mysterious autoimmune reactions and misdiagnoses that often result in ineffective treatments and surgeries. Anne believes she underwent unnecessary surgeries trying to ... Read More

Lumber Liquidators Agrees To Not Resume Sales Of Chinese-Made Laminate Flooring

lumber liquidators laminate flooring

Lumber Liquidators has agreed to not resume selling its stock of Chinese-made laminate flooring that can potentially sicken people with dangerous levels of formaldehyde and to continue a comprehensive testing program that enables consumers to determine whether their Lumber Liquidators flooring is safe. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said that the agreement ends the federal investigation of Lumber Liquidators’ laminate flooring, which a 60 Minutes investigative report found to contain amounts of formaldehyde that exceeded limits set by the California Air Resources Board, despite product packaging that stated otherwise. The CPSC conducted extensive tests of Lumber Liquidators products ... Read More

High School Lacrosse Player Sues Over Alleged Mismanaged Head Injury

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A high school Lacrosse player has filed a personal-injury lawsuit against the Orange County, Fla., School Board and the Florida High School Athletic Association, alleging they were negligent in responding to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) she sustained during a match last year. According to an amended lawsuit filed in Orange County Circuit Court May 17, a player identified as Leighton Yenor, also named as a defendant, struck plaintiff Kendall Holley on the head with a lacrosse stick. The impact caused Ms. Holley to sustain a concussion. Instead of properly responding to the injury, however, “none of the referees, coaches ... Read More