At Sanford Heisler, we are proud to represent individual citizens with the courage to take a stand against corruption and injustice. An individual may bring an action against a government contractor or service provider when the individual suspects, or knows that a corporation is committing an act of fraud against the U.S. government. Such an action is known as a qui tam lawsuit and the individual is known as a whistleblower. Through successful qui tam lawsuits, whistleblowers may recover between 15-25% of the government’s recovery on the government’s behalf; sometimes amounting to tens of millions of dollars.
Many people who file qui tam lawsuits are employees or former employees of unethical companies that commit fraud. But anyone who has direct and independent knowledge, previously undisclosed to the public, of an instance in which the government has made a payment based on false claims can file a qui tam lawsuit. The whistleblower can be, for example, a competitor, a customer, a subcontractor, or even a patient.
In the past year, Sanford Heisler has settled three significant qui tam actions against major corporations with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition, Sanford Heisler has filed 12 other whistleblower actions throughout the United States, and is currently investigating and drafting additional matters across the United States.
Examples of recent settlements:
Sanford Heisler brought a whistleblower/qui tam matter against Amgen, Inc. (“Amgen”), a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Subsequently, Amgen entered into a global settlement with the United States Department of Justice and agreed to pay $762 million dollars, which includes a $612 million civil settlement, a $14 million forfeiture and $136 million in criminal fines, to resolve all claims against it. The Complaint charged that Amgen violated the Federal False Claims Act by using an illegal off-label marketing campaign and use of illegal kickbacks to promote the sale of Aranesp to induce physicians to prescribe Aranesp and Amgen medications unnecessarily in circumstances where less costly medications or no medication would otherwise have been used.. As a result, the Medicare and Medicaid programs faced substantial increased costs for the treatment of patients improperly prescribed Amgen’s drugs. More
Sanford Heisler brought a whistleblower/qui tam matter on behalf of two whistleblowers (“relators”), against cardiac pacemaker and defibrillator manufacturer Medtronic, Inc. (“Medtronic”). Subsequently, Medtronic entered into a global settlement with the United States Department of Justice, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, and four relators, and agreed to pay $23.5 million dollars to resolve all claims against it, including nearly $4 million as a reward for the relators. The Complaint charged that Medtronic violated the Federal False Claims Act by using post-market studies and device registries as vehicles to pay participating physicians kickbacks for implanting its pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillatorsin Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries. As a result, the Medicare and Medicaid programs faced substantial increased costs for implanting these devices in patients where less expensive interventions or procedures could otherwise have been used. More
Sanford Heisler brought a whistleblower/qui tam matter against AtriCure, Inc, (“AtriCure”), a medical device manufacturer. Subsequently, AtriCure agreed to pay $4.15 million dollars to resolve all claims against it. The Complaint charged that AtriCure violated the Federal False Claims Act by using illegal kickbacks and an off-label marketing campaign to induce doctors and hospitals to perform AtriCure’s costly inpatient cardiac surgical ablation procedures rather than standard, and more effective outpatient catheter ablation procedures. As a result, the Medicare program faced substantial increased costs from AtriCure’s unnecessary and expensive procedures. More
Sanford Heisler brought a whistleblower/qui tam matter against Endoscopic Technologies (“Estech”), a medical device manufacturer. Subsequently, Estech agreed to pay $1.4 million dollars to resolve civil claims in connection with the promotion of its surgical ablation devices. The settlement resolved allegations that Estech marketed its medical devices to treat atrial fibrillation, a use not approved by the FDA. Allegations also involved Estech’s promoting of expensive heart surgeries using the company’s devices when less invasive alternatives were appropriate; advising hospitals to up-code surgical procedures using the company’s devices to inflate Medicare reimbursements; and paying of kickbacks to healthcare providers to use its devices. More
Sanford Heisler brought a whistleblower/qui tam matter against Oce North America and Oce Imagistics, Oce a manufacturer of printers and document management systems. Subsequently, Oce agreed to pay $1.2 million dollars to resolve civil claims in connection with allegations that it sold printing products to the United States Government that were manufactured in non-designated countries and that it failed to offer them at the reduced rates that non-government customers enjoy. More