Prescription drugs are often beneficial--treating maladies from minor to life-threatening. Sadly--often driven by money as the bottom line--pharmaceutical companies sometimes engage in fraud, thereby risking public health and costing consumers and the government billions of dollars. Bad actions abound: some companies promote products untested in clinical trials or for uses beyond the scope of governmental approval; some encourage prescriptions at higher doses than recommended; and some push medicines that are just plain dangerous. In a great many cases, manufacturers ...Read More ›
As a society, we are not the best at appreciating our elders. At minimum, we should care for our seniors to prevent them from being abused and/or victimized. To do so, we need to know what constitutes elder abuse, what to do about it, and, if/when warranted, when to bring in professionals. You should seek out an elder abuse attorney if you suspect that an older person is being abused or if you yourself are being victimized.
Here are the six most common types of elder abuse:
- Assaults such as hitting or shoving;
- Inappropriate/unwarranted use of drugs, restraints, or confinement.
Taxpayer money is everywhere. And where there is money, there are people willing to cheat to get more than their fair share. Fortunately, there are also upstanding humans interested in calling out wrongdoers gaming the system and stealing tax dollars. Also fortunately, we have whistleblower rewards!
The primary law used to assist those blowing the whistle on bad behavior is the federal False Claims Act. The SEC also has a whistleblower program that has grown significantly over the past decade. The last year has brought a record number of whistleblower claims under the FCA and SEC ...Read More ›
Despite courthouse doors closing throughout California starting in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and making in-person jury trials nearly impossible, tens of thousands of Plaintiffs have made monumental progress in their individual cases against Southern California Gas Company – the largest distributor of natural gas in the United States – related to the largest uncontrolled release of natural gas in U.S. history.Read More ›
Polyfluoroalkyl substances; It’s a mouthful, which is why they go by the acronym, PFAS. These substances are also known as “forever chemicals” because they persist “forever” in groundwater, and thus in drinking water. For decades, PFAS chemicals were widely used in the manufacturing of household products and for industrial uses, leading to widespread contamination of groundwater, water treatment plants, and landfills across the U.S. As a result, PFAS contamination is an emerging environmental crisis across the country, which has given rise to litigation in many states.Read More ›
Corporate Defendants may try to block the depositions of top-level executives and agency heads on the basis that the witness is an “apex witness.” The general rule in California and federal court is that agency heads and other top governmental executives are not subject to deposition absent compelling reasons. “The general rule is based upon the recognition that an official’s time and the exigencies of his everyday business would be severely impeded if every plaintiff filing a complaint against an agency head, in his official capacity, were allowed to take his oral deposition.” Contractors’ State License Bd. v. Superior Court (2018) 23 Cal.App.5th 125, 131. Further, top-level corporate executives are generally considered apex witnesses for the same reasons. See Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (1979) 10 Cal. App. 4th 1282.Read More ›
A recent trend among defendants in False Claims Act cases is to argue that their violations are not "material"--in other words, that even though they may be breaking the rules, the government doesn't care. This trend was spawned by a Supreme Court case typically referred to as "Escobar": Universal Health Servs., Inc. v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 1989, 2001, 195 L. Ed. 2d 348 (2016).
In cases of upcoding and misbilling, defendants' emphasis on the Escobar materiality test is misplaced. The Escobar test was formulated to apply in “implied certification” cases, as explained by the ...Read More ›
Upcoding and misbilling cases are "factually false" claims under the False Claims Act. The distinction between a "legally false” claim, and a “factually false” claim, was recently explained by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, as follows:
FCA claims can be either legally false or factually false. E.g., United States v. Sci. Applications Int’l Corp., 626 F.3d 1257, 1266 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (recognizing factually false claims as “the paradigmatic case” and legally false claims as the “certification theory”). A claim is factually false when the information ...Read More ›
Most outpatient healthcare services are billed to Medicare, Medicaid, and other payers on a “CMS-1500” form, using Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes to identify the services performed. CPT codes, and their definitions, are published by the American Medical Association (AMA). Misbilling of CPT codes is one of the most common forms of False Claims Act violations in the healthcare field.
The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit described the importance of CPT codes in poetic terms: “The Rosetta Stone for the billing codes is found in an American Medical Association ...Read More ›
Investors who invested in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) or purchased “digital tokens” may be wondering whether their investment is governed by any laws. Likewise, investors may be wondering if they have any recourse when they expect fraud or the ICO disclosures failed to provide material information.Read More ›