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The Whistlerblower Blog

About This Blog

Presented by Hodgson Russ, the Whistleblower Blog is written by a team of lawyers experienced in successfully guiding both whistleblowers and companies accused by whistleblowers of wrongdoing through the False Claims Act process.

About

As the size of the government has grown and the complexity of its business affairs expanded, whistleblowers have exposed fraud in a multitude of industries, including health care, transportation, defense contracting, pharmaceutical sales, Medicare, Medicaid, construction, and a host of others. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recognizes the important role whistleblowers play in the fight against government fraud and has stepped up its enforcement efforts. Working together, well-informed whistleblowers, their counsel, and the DOJ have, in recent years, recovered billions of dollars in taxpayer money obtained by fraud. And the numbers keep growing—there are more than 1,000 False Claims Act cases currently under consideration by the federal government.

Presented by Hodgson Russ, the Whistleblower Blog is written by a team of lawyers experienced in successfully guiding companies and whistleblowers through the False Claims Act process.

Blog Contributors:

Daniel C. Oliverio, Chairman and False Claims Act & Whistleblower Representation Practices Leader

Daniel C. OliverioIn addition to serving as Hodgson Russ chairman and leader of firm’s False Claims Act & Whistleblower Representation and Business Crimes, Regulatory Offenses & Corporate Investigations Practices, Dan is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation Practice, placing him among the firm’s leaders in civil and criminal litigation. His current practice includes complex litigation involving high-dollar, high-exposure issues for business clients, primarily before U.S. district courts. He has served as lead trial counsel in numerous commercial and intellectual property cases, as well as white-collar criminal cases involving taxation, fraud, and business crimes. Dan has experience representing relators and defending accused companies in False Claims Act cases arising from a variety of industries and areas, including health care reimbursement, defense procurement, pharmaceuticals, and medical device matters. He led a team of Hodgson Russ attorneys in the successful representation of two of the plaintiffs who blew the whistle on Johnson & Johnson for its off-label marketing of Risperdal, resulting in the largest-ever False Claims Act settlement. Dan is also a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York and has served as a special prosecutor appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.

William J. Comiskey

William J. ComiskeyBill has held top-level government positions with New York State agencies responsible for tax enforcement and for investigating and prosecuting health care fraud, complex financial fraud, physician misconduct, and official misconduct. His experience prior to joining Hodgson Russ includes serving as the deputy attorney general in charge of New York’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the largest state law enforcement unit in the nation dedicated to fighting Medicaid fraud and patient abuse. As a prosecutor, Bill held leadership positions in the attorney general’s Criminal Division, prosecuting fraud, corruption, and organized crime cases. He also served as chief assistant district attorney in Rensselaer County and as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Reetuparna (Reena) Dutta

Reena DuttaReena concentrates her practice in business litigation. Her experience includes matters involving white-collar crime and False Claims Act litigation, specifically in the area of health law and health care fraud, as well as matters involving municipal zoning, antitrust, and intellectual property issues. Prior to joining Hodgson Russ, Reena served as an intern at the Civil Appellate Division of the DOJ and at the Office of the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment. She has also worked as a legal and economic research assistant responsible for investigating antitrust implications of mergers and acquisitions at a prominent national law firm.

Patrick Fitzsimmons
Patrick primarily concentrates his practice in the areas of white-collar criminal defense and business litigation.  Prior to rejoining Hodgson Russ, Patrick was an assistant district attorney in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office where he gained extensive trial experience, both jury and non-jury, prosecuting a wide range of criminal matters.  Patrick also has corporate and securities law experience, having worked in the corporate departments of both Hodgson Russ and Ropes & Gray LLP in its New York City office.



Robert J. Fluskey, Jr.

Robert J. FluskeyRob has a broad range of experience in complex litigation and dispute resolution, which includes representing clients before federal courts, state courts, and arbitration panels. He has represented relators in False Claims Act cases as well as corporate defendants in False Claims Act cases and government investigations.




Kevin M. Kearney

Kevin M. KearneyKevin focuses his practice on federal court litigation, including Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) cases and civil and criminal antitrust cases. He has defended clients in securities and antitrust class actions and has litigated a number of corporate governance disputes. Kevin clerked for Judge James L. Oakes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun during the October 1988 term. After his federal clerkships, Mr. Kearney served as a confidential advisor to Judge Howard M. Holzmann of the U.S./Iran Claims Tribunal at The Hague, which dealt with a variety of public and private international law issues.

Michelle Merola

Michelle MerolaMichelle represents corporations, financial institutions, health care providers, and individuals in all aspects of government investigations, internal audits, corporate compliance matters, and civil and criminal litigation. Michelle has experience in various health care statutes, including the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; the Anti-Kickback Statute; and federal and state False Claims Acts. Specifically, she has represented health care professionals and medical device companies under investigation for submitting false claims. She has also represented hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, OMRDD providers, and drug treatment providers in a variety of regulatory and compliance matters. Michelle served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.

Aaron Saykin
Aaron concentrates his practice in business litigation, including complex commercial disputes, False Claims Act actions, and municipal law. Prior to his legal career, Aaron worked for 13 years as a television reporter at media outlets in Buffalo; Pittsburgh; Wilmington, North Carolina; and Springfield, Massachusetts.






Joseph V. Sedita

Joseph V. SeditaJoe has represented individuals and companies in general civil litigation and administrative and criminal enforcement matters for more than 30 years. He has defended and prosecuted civil False Claims Act cases, acting for both companies and private relators. He has broad experience with most aspects of the regulatory environment affecting government contracting, health care, and aerospace/defense procurement. A former chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the New York State Bar Association, Joe has been recognized in Best Lawyers in America since its inception and is designated in the categories of White-Collar Criminal Defense, Commercial Litigation, and Bet-the-Company Litigation.

John L. Sinatra Jr.

John L. SinatraJohn has represented whistleblowers exposing fraud against several government agencies spanning the transportation, medical, and component product industries. He also has played a substantial role in the representation of numerous Fortune 500 companies, individuals, and other significant clients in complex and multi-jurisdictional litigation. He has extensive experience in litigation involving product liability claims, class actions, False Claims Act defense, forum disputes, supply and indemnification agreements, unfair competition claims, bankruptcy-related issues, and other commercial disputes. John's successful engagements include a trial and appeal overturning a $96 million Texas jury verdict in litigation over airplane engine crank shafts and the defense of numerous suits claiming hundreds of millions of dollars of steel frame building damage arising from the Northridge, California, earthquake.

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About This Firm

Hodgson Russ is one of only a few major law firms that represents both whistleblowers and companies accused by whistleblowers of wrongdoing. This unusual perspective means we are exceptionally well positioned to advise whistleblowers about potential claims.

We are not a "whistleblower mill" that pays little attention to the needs of its clients or the factual nuances of complex cases. Rather, we are a team of highly experienced lawyers that selects only the best cases, affording us the time and focus to become fully immersed in the factual and legal details necessary to bring cases to successful resolution.