Posted April 2nd, 2015.
Medtronic, Inc. Agree to Pay $4.4 Million to U.S. in Medical Device “Country of Origin” Case
WASHINGTON, April 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Sanford Heisler Kimpel, LLP today announced that medical device manufacturer Medtronic, Inc. has agreed to settle a qui tam suit and pay the United States government $4.4 million. Sanford Heisler Kimpel represented Relators, Sam Cox, Meayna Phanthavong, and Sonia Adams and sued Medtronic in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act for violating the Trade Agreements Act (TAA). The whistleblower provisions permit private citizens known as “Relators” to bring lawsuits on behalf of the U.S. and receive a portion of proceeds of any settlement or judgment.
The TAA requires Government contractors to certify that they will only sell products to the Government that originate in the United States or a country that has signed a trade agreement with the United States. The law gives a preference to companies that sell products manufactured in the United States or in a country that is a trading partner.
Medtronic had contracts with the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies. It certified that it would comply with the Trade Agreements Act. Medtronic violated its obligations under the TAA when it sold devices that originated in China. These devices included surgical instruments and devices used in spine surgery and certain models of anchoring sleeves packaged with cardiac leads.
David Sanford, Chairman of Sanford Heisler Kimpel, said that this settlement “reaffirms the vital role that whistleblowers play in uncovering fraud against the government.”
Ross Brooks, Co-Chair of Sanford Heisler Kimpel’s whistleblower practice, said, “Today’s settlement is the second settlement against a medical device company for violating the Trade Agreements Act by misrepresenting the “Country of Origin” of goods sold under contract to U.S. Government agencies.” Vince McKnight, also a Co-Chair of the firm’s whistleblower practice, said, “It is important that the Government has turned its attention to these violations and is stepping up enforcement of the Trade Agreements Act.”
Grant Morris, Of Counsel to Sanford Heisler Kimpel and the attorney who assisted the relator in bringing the fraud to light, said, “Mr. Cox should be commended for exposing this wrongdoing and bringing this matter to the attention of the United States Government.”
Sanford Heisler Kimpel expressed gratitude to the U.S. Department of Justice, which was instrumental in investigating this matter and crafting a settlement.
About Sanford Heisler Kimpel
Sanford Heisler Kimpel LLP is a public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, DC, and San Francisco, specializing in civil rights and general public interest cases, and representing plaintiffs with the whistleblower, employment discrimination, labor and wage violations, predatory lending, consumer fraud, and other claims.
Sanford Heisler Kimpel has an impressive history of success in qui tam, or whistleblower cases brought under the False Claims Act, having represented whistleblowers in a 124 million dollar qui tam settlement with Omnicare, Inc., a 762 million-dollar global qui tam settlement with Amgen, Inc., and a 23.5 million-dollar qui tam settlement with Medtronic, all with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition, Sanford Heisler Kimpel has filed over 20 other whistleblower actions now pending throughout the United States and is currently investigating and drafting additional matters across the United States.
Along with a focus on False Claims Act and other whistleblower cases, Sanford Heisler Kimpel also represents individuals in employment disputes and has achieved particular success in the representation of executives in such disputes. For example, the Firm secured the largest jury award in U.S. history in an employment discrimination case, winning more than $250 million for 7,000 female employees at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.