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State Enforcement Actions

Each state enforces its laws and defends its interests, and states often work with the federal government in investigating and prosecuting corporate frauds.  Whistleblowers with knowledge of fraud or wrongful conduct that involves state or local funds or programs may be able to bring a claim under a state or local False Claims Act, and may be eligible to receive a monetary reward and protection against retaliation.

Below are summaries of recent settlements, successful prosecutions, and enforcement actions by states. If you believe you have information about fraud which could give rise to a claim under a State or Local False Claims Act or other whistleblower reward provision, please contact us to speak with one of our experienced whistleblower attorneys.

October 19, 2020

Utah-based medical device manufacturer, Merit Medical Systems Inc., has agreed to pay $18 million to multiple states to settle allegations of paying illegal kickbacks to healthcare providers and causing false claims to be submitted to Medicaid.  In order to induce sales of its embolotherapeutic devices—which are used to treat arteriovenous malformations, hypervascular tumors, and symptomatic uterine fibroids—Merit allegedly provided doctors, medical practices, and hospitals with millions of dollars in free advertising, educational grants, and practice support.  NC AG

October 8, 2020

CHS/Community Health Systems Inc. will pay $5 million to resolve the claims of 28 states related to a data breach that affected over six million patients, exposing their names, birthdates, social security numbers, and other information.  CHS also agreed to take undertake specific measures to help keep patients’ information secure.  NC

October 7, 2020

J&K Contracting, Inc. will pay $350,000 to the State of Maryland to settle claims that the company violated the Maryland False Claims Act.  J&K and its principal, Kryiakos Kiotsekoglou, were alleged to have made false statements that they used and paid subcontractors certified under the state’s Minority Business Enterprise Program.  In addition to the fine, defendants have agreed to a voluntary debarment from contracting with the State.  MD

September 24, 2020

Transvaginal surgical mesh device manufacturer C.R. Bard, Inc. and its parent company, Becton, Dickinson and Company, have agreed to pay $60 million to 48 states and the District of Columbia to resolve allegations of deceptively marketing the devices.  The company’s surgical mesh—which are permanently implanted to hold up falling organs, and which are extremely difficult or impossible to remove—had life-altering side effects that they failed to disclose, including chronic pain, recurring infections, and shrinking tissue.  Although the devices were taken off the market in 2016, under the terms of the settlement, C.R. Bard and Becton, Dickinson and Company are required to adhere to certain injunctive terms if they choose to reenter the market.  The funds received as part of this settlement will be added to a larger restitution fund that was established after settlement of a similar case with Johnson & Johnson in 2019.  CA AG; FL AG; WA AG

September 17, 2020

LexisNexis Coplogic Solutions Inc. agreed to pay $10 million to Florida, which intervened in an action brought by whistleblower Christopher Hood under the Florida False Claims Act alleging that the company was underpaying the state.  LexisNexis contracted with the state to provide motor vehicle crash reports to the public for a small fee; a portion of the fee collected by LexisNexis, $10 per report, was to be paid by the company to the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.  However, the whistleblower and state alleged that LexisNexis systematically understated the number of reports it sold, thereby underpaying the state.  The relator, a former employee of LexisNexis, will receive a whistleblower award of $1.8 millionFlaEarlier settlements

September 15, 2020

ITT Technical Institute settled claims with the CFPB and 48 states and the District of Columbia, agreeing to discharge outstanding student loans incurred for attendance at the for-profit college, run by holding company PEAKS.  PEAKS allegedly knew or was reckless in not knowing that many student borrowers did not understand the terms and conditions of those loans, could not afford them, or in some cases did not even know they had them. The settlement, valued at $330 million, also requires PEAKS to provide credit reporting agencies information to correct credit scores negatively affected by the illegal lending scheme, and to shut down after carrying out the settlement.  CFPB; Cal; FL; MI; PA; VA; WA

August 25, 2020

American Honda Motor Co., and Honda of America Mfg., Inc. (Honda) has reached a settlement with the Attorney Generals of 48 states and agreed to pay $85.1 million to resolve allegations of failing to disclose certain airbag safety failures to regulators and ­­­customers of Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the United States.  According to the complaint, Honda engineers were aware that the propellant used in Takata-manufactured airbags—used in Honda and Acura vehicles since 2001—could burn aggressively, cause the inflator to burst, and ultimately harm drivers and passengers, yet continued to represent that its cars were safe even as it began recalling affected vehicles in 2008.  Although the company eventually recalled approximately 12.9 million vehicles, the recalls came too late and the failures resulted in at least 14 deaths and over 200 injuries nationwide.  AG CA; AG FL; AG NY; AG GA

August 11, 2020

The former owner of Texas-based All Smiles Dental Center has been ordered to pay $16.5 million to the State of Texas for improperly billing Texas Medicaid for tens of millions of dollars in services that he did not deliver, including services allegedly performed while he was vacationing abroad.  In total, Dr. Richard Malouf was found to have committed 1,842 unlawful acts under the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act.  AG TX

July 30, 2020

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), now known as DXC Technology, and New York City have agreed to pay approximately $2.8 million to resolve allegations of violating the federal and New York State False Claims Acts in connection with New York City’s Early Intervention Program (EIP), which provides speech and physical therapy services for infants and toddlers with possible developmental disabilities.  According to a qui tam lawsuit, while retained by the City to process and submit its EIP claims to various insurers, CSC allegedly received permission from the City to categorize claims submitted to private insurers as “denied” if no response was received within 90 days.  CSC then resubmitted those claims to Medicaid using an improper code, causing Medicaid to make payments it would not have otherwise.  For revealing the misconduct, the unnamed whistleblower in this case will receive $416,250.  AG NY; USAO SDNY
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