Medicine is a profession with high ethical standards. At the same time, there is much money to be made. Bad players find ways to siphon some of the nearly $600 billion we spend on Medicare each year. So, both the health care industry and its regulators constantly struggle with how to cope with the kickbacks, conflicts of interest and billing for unnecessary care.

Illustration by Nora Valdez

Last year, $2.5 billion of the $2.8 billion in Department of Justice False Claim Act recoveries involved the health care industry. In 2019, whistleblowers working with the DOJ included hospital administrators, sales representatives, home health care workers, physicians and patients.

Now, they may have more muscle. Maria Durant, a partner with the firm Hogan and Lovells, told a group of lawyers gathered in Boston last week there has been a major shift in the way courts interpret the validity of medical opinion. She spoke at a conference on health care law held Thursday by the Boston Bar Association. 
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Attorney General Sessions Condemns Companies That Sell Defective Equipment to First Responders

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a press release late today announcing a settlement in a 13-year long False Claims Act case. Toyobo Co. Ltd. of Japan and its American subsidiary, Toyobo U.S.A. Inc., f/k/a Toyobo America Inc. (collectively, Toyobo), have agreed to pay $66 million to resolve claims under the False Claims Act that they sold defective Zylon fiber used in bullet proof vests that the United States purchased for federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. 
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Press Release
October 31, 2016

On Tuesday November 1, 2016, The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. U.S. ex rel. Rigsby. Having suffered a 758-thousand-dollar jury verdict for defrauding the Government following Hurricane Katrina, State Farm is now attempting judicial gymnastics to avoid paying the judgment.


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The post below was co-authored by Stephen M. Kohn, Michael D. Kohn David K. Colapinto, partners of the law firm Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto, LLP.

 One of the most destructive tools used to silence whistleblowers are non-disclosure agreements (often found in employment contracts and severance agreements) which prohibit employees from disclosing fraud and other crimes to law enforcement agencies.  Today’s Washington Post story exemplifies the problems faced by employees in every sector of the economy who are required to sign these gag orders in order to obtain jobs or badly needed severance payments.

On March 9th, we filed a complaint with the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking to have these agencies take strong action against illegal gag orders.  The complaint, based on information provided to the government by former KBR employee Harry Barko, exposed how KBR forced its employees to sign illegal gag orders when they were disclosing fraud in government contracting to company officials.  This complaint was reported in the Washington Post on March 10th.  Since then, the SEC has initiated an investigation into these practices. Today’s Post story indicates that momentum is building to stop these practices.   
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This week the Department of Justice issued a series of press releases announcing settlements in several cases under the False Claims Act. The settlement of these cases, originally brought under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, resulted in recoveries of over $200 million for the U.S. Taxpayers. The settlements are