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whistle blower 189 articles

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

CDC contractor pays $18 million to settle whistleblower allegations

A California pharmaceutical distributor has agreed to pay the U.S. $18 million to resolve a whistleblower’s allegations that it improperly set temperature monitors in shipping vaccines while it was under contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide vaccine distribution services. The U.S. Justice Department said that San Francisco-based McKesson Corporation failed to comply with the shipping and handling requirements of its vaccine distribution contract with the CDC, which had contracted the company to receive vaccines purchased by the government from manufacturers and then distribute them health care providers. The CDC contract required McKesson to ensure ... Read More

Dodd-Frank whistleblower provisions don’t protect overseas whistleblowers, appeals court says

The anti-retaliation provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act do not protect whistleblowers outside the United States, a federal appeals court ruled last week, upholding the decision of a lower court that struck down a lawsuit filed by a Taiwanese national against Siemens AG. Liu Meng-Lin, a former compliance officer at Siemens China, sought the whistleblower protections afforded by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which prohibit companies from retaliating against employees who call out fraud and other wrongdoing to federal regulators. Mr. Liu alleged that he was fired after he took his concerns over an alleged kickback ... Read More

Jury awards UC Davis whistleblower $730,000 in retaliation case

A former University of California Davis administrative nurse who sued the university for retaliating against her when she blew the whistle on an unethical research project received a $730,000 jury award. Janet Keyzer, a nurse for three decades with a Ph.D. in human and community development, filed her whistleblower complaint in June 2010 in Sacramento Superior Court, alleging her career was destroyed after the university took a series of retaliatory actions against her. The plaintiff worked as a researcher for the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research for more than nine years before she was allegedly fired in ... Read More

Whistleblower sues Milwaukee aircraft manufacturer, others for deliberately overcharging government

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – A whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former employee of a Milwaukee-based aircraft manufacturer alleges the company used special software to hide illegal markups on bills it submitted to the U.S. Defense Department for reimbursement on aircraft parts. Plaintiff Mary Patzer, a former financial analyst and assistant controller at Derco Aerospace Inc., filed the lawsuit in 2011 on behalf of the federal government under the qui tam or “whistleblower” provisions of the False Claims Act. The case was unsealed this week by federal judge Rudolph Randa. Ms. Patzer alleges that Derco, its parent company Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. of ... Read More

Savannah hospital faces whistleblower allegations of false claims, wrongful retaliation

SAVANNAH, Ga. — The federal government has filed a lawsuit against Memorial Health Inc. and an affiliated physicians group for filing allegedly fraudulent claims for Medicare reimbursement that stemmed from improper physician referrals and illegal financial relationships. The lawsuit, filed in a Savannah federal court, is based on the allegations of a whistleblower lawsuit filed by former Memorial Health President/CEO Phillip Schaengold in April 2011 under the False Claims Act, which allows private individuals to sue on behalf of the U.S. government. After Memorial Health hired him in June 2009, Mr. Schaengold began a comprehensive analysis of the hospital’s financial ... Read More