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The Whistleblower Blog

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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.

Photo of The Whistleblower Blog Robert J. Fluskey, Jr.
Partner
rfluskey@hodgsonruss.com
716.848.1688
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Rob is an experienced litigator and a partner in the firm's Litigation Practice. He has represented clients in dozens of complex, high-stakes cases in federal and state …

Showing 3 posts by Robert J. Fluskey, Jr..

Government Statistics Show Upward Trend in False Claims Act Settlements

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Data released by the U.S. Department of Justice reveal a substantial increase in False Claims Act recoveries over the past two years. These statistics, along with comments from Department of Justice officials, indicate that the False Claims Act whistleblower provisions have become the government’s tool of choice in attacking fraud, particularly in the health care and pharmaceutical industries.

During fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, the Department of Justice secured more than $3 billion through settlements and judgments in civil cases involving fraud against the government. This marked the second year in a row where the Department of Justice reached or exceeded $3 billion. Since January 2009, the Department of Justice has recovered approximately $8.7 billion. This is the largest three-year total in the Justice Department’s history.

Whistleblowers and the False Claims Act’s Public Disclosure Bar

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The False Claims Act’s “public disclosure bar” can sometimes prevent a whistleblower from pursuing a lawsuit based on information that has been disclosed in particular settings, such as government hearings, government reports, and news reports. In light of this provision, a company facing a potential whistleblower action may consider self-reporting potentially unlawful activity to government authorities before a whistleblower files.

“Beating the whistleblower to the punch” may be a useful strategy in some circumstances, but one should seek legal advice before moving forward. Self-disclosure has become a complicated area, and courts disagree on whether it triggers the public disclosure bar.

Medical Industry Whistleblower Settlements Increase

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False Claims Act settlements are increasing dramatically in the medical industry, and many of the growing number of settlements are being paid by an unlikely target: hospitals. Over the past few months, Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center, in Long Island; Mercy Hospital, in Springfield, Massachusetts; and Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, in Nashua, New Hampshire, all resolved False Claims Act cases with considerable settlements. Most of the whistleblower claims were based on allegations of improper charges to obtain Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Read more here.

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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.