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illegal 167 articles

Judge allows whistleblower’s False Claims Act lawsuit against Novartis to move forward

A New York federal judge has rejected Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp.’s bid to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit alleging the company engaged in illegal kickback schemes involving two of its drugs, which resulted in false claims to Medicare and 27 state Medicaid programs. The lawsuit, filed under seal by whistleblower David Kester in 2011, was amended by the U.S. government in January, about nine months after it chose to intervene and take over the case as the U.S. False Claims Act allows it to do. Mr. Kester worked for seven years as an account manager for Novartis, a position that required him ... 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

Whistleblower accuses Pennsylvania hospital of retaliation and false claims to Medicare

A former employee of Abington Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the hospital alleging she was fired in retaliation for reporting that laboratory technicians were modifying orders for blood work in a way that resulted in the submission of false claims to Medicare for reimbursement. Joanne Cleighton filed the whistleblower lawsuit on Aug. 11 in a Philadelphia federal court, alleging that Abington Memorial suspended her without pay and then fired her for voicing her objections to the alleged false claims despite her 26-year employment with the hospital and “exemplary” work history. The lawsuit states that if ... 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

Whistleblower’s False Claims lawsuit against Samsung leads to $2.3 million settlement

Samsung Electronics America Inc. has agreed to pay $2.3 million to resolve whistleblower allegations that its business practices led the U.S. government to unknowingly purchase foreign electronics from countries not approved under the Trade Agreements Act and thus the submission of false claims for those products. The lawsuit concerns contracts under the federal government’s General Services Administration (GSA), which awards Multiple Award Schedule contracts to multiple companies that provide comparable products and services. Once the GSA negotiates and awards the contract, any federal agency may purchase under it. Generally the Trade Agreements Act requires the U.S. government to buy products made ... Read More

Bank of America settles mortgage fraud claims with U.S. and six states for record $16.65 million

The U.S. Justice Department and six state attorneys general have reached a $16.65-billion settlement with Bank of America Corporation to resolve claims that the bank and its former and current subsidiaries, including Countrywide and Merrill Lynch, defrauded investors, government agencies, and hundreds of thousands of customers in a massive scheme that ultimately crippled the U.S. economy. The settlement is the largest civil settlement with a single corporation in U.S. history. The Justice Department said that the settlement resolves multiple ongoing investigations related to Bank of America’s packaging, marketing, selling, arrangement, structuring, and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), collateralized debt ... Read More

Whistleblower tips prompted closure of Mississippi cancer clinic

Tips from a group of whistleblowers led to the July 2011 closing of a multi-million cancer treatment facility in Summit, Miss., and the prison sentences of its founder and key employees, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported. The Mississippi Health Department shuttered the Rose Cancer Center for its “unsafe infection control practices” after 11 of the clinic’s patients were hospitalized with the same bacterial infection. Subsequent investigations led to the prosecution of Dr. Meera Sachdeva, who started the clinic in 2005 and received 20 years in federal prison for health care fraud and two counts of making false statements. Dr. Sachdeva was ... Read More