When Doctors Go Bad – Pushing Pills over Treating People – The Opioid Crisis Part 1

Another tool in effectively treating the opioid crisis is using the False Claims Act (FCA) and encouraging whistleblowers to come forward with information regarding dirty doctors and pharmaceutical companies. In fact, just recently there was a 1.6 billion dollar whistleblower settlement involving insiders who utilized the false claims act to obtain a whistleblower award in the hundreds of millions.  In order to address the Opioid problem we need to understand the question, one of which is, “How were people thrust into this cycle of addiction and how do we break it?”

First, we need to examine the origins of pill pushing and who profits from it the most, who profits it from it somewhat and who suffers.  We can start with the last part first, suffering from the opioid crisis are the people addicted to the product and the insurance companies and the taxpayers.

When someone is prescribed opioids it is supposed to be a short-term fix for a temporary pain problem.  If the pain lasts longer than a few weeks than the origin of the pain should be addressed, or else continued pain pills can become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.  It’s amazing invariably every time there’s a development in combatting opioids and we blog about it, then people write us complaining that they need these drugs and we’re shutting down their avenues to obtain them rather than reflecting about addiction.  For every one person that writes about that, scores of people write about how opioids have decimated their life, how their body has deteriorated from drug usage, how they are so addicted, that their only thoughts are about how to get more drugs and how they need to take more and more pills, and will do anything for them to even achieve a little bit of relief. No one wants to start off an addict and no one thinks they will become addicted, but there are plenty of addicts.  There is a human face to addiction, and a trail of bodies and stories.

In the wake of the human tragedy, there is the financial costs, which is in the billions, but still pales in contrast to the human suffering.  There is massive Medicare Fraud, Medicaid Fraud, and Insurance Fraud related to the opioid crisis.  Just like a cycle of dependence and addiction, there’s a cycle of billing and economics that fuels the crisis.

It starts with the pharmaceutical companies who develop products and while the products have the ephemeral fix, they have an addictive kick.  The pharmaceutical companies know that the quick fix has addiction risks and should be cautioning people about the addiction and carefully and cautiously monitoring the situation, but from the cruel world of corporate profits over people, it’s that addiction that’s the precise hook for the profits.  Even when the drug company may have had fine print in the labels warning of the risks of addiction, in reality, they were promoting it off-label for extended use and chronic prescription for nothing but profits.

And then there’s the dirty doctors themselves, the Dr. FeelGoods and the pain pushing clinics.  They profit from the addiction by billing Medicare, Medicaid and Insurance for pills and chronic treatment that could’ve been ended had the patient received honest treatment.  Some of these doctors and clinics engage in kickback schemes that violate the Anti-Kickback Statute portion of the False Claims Act, and they violate them in some of the most creative and gruesome ways imaginable.  Simple kickbacks include cash for bringing in patients, drugs for bringing in patients.  Culling for patients they comb homeless shelters, or drug rehab clinics.  The incentives include bussing people in, offering them free trips, casino runs, or other promises and inducements for keeping the merry go round of addiction and profits going around and round.

Some lawsuits tackle the problem head-on by suing for the damage it caused to the individual.  Other lawsuits like the False Claims Act Whistleblower Opioid lawsuits go to tackle the root of the issue, the prescribing doctors and the pharmaceutical companies who created the circumstances that have caused the plague.

The recent 1.6 billion dollar settlement against a pharmaceutical company originated with a courageous doctor who recognized the problem, and those involved in perpetuating the problem.  The lawyers at Brown, LLC actively utilize the False Claims Act (FCA) statute to aggressively attack the Opioid crisis by going after the dirty doctors, medical providers and pharmaceutical companies.  If you are in the inside of an Opioid pain pushing facility or even if you’re addicted, but are aware of the same the facility is engaged in you should call the whistleblower lawyers at Brown, LLC at (877) 561-0000 to learn your rights and to find out if you qualify for a whistleblower award.

The Secrets of the Best Whistleblower Lawyer(s) – Part 1

When you have a potential whistleblower lawsuit, one of the most common questions people google is who is the top whistleblower lawyer by me.  The answer, if not lawyerly itself, is it depends.

Selection of a Top Whistleblower Lawyer is really what firm is best fitted to handle your particular type of whistleblower lawsuit and who you can you see yourself working with for at least a couple years.  Some people think they can use the information to threaten a company and that company will just roll over.  Well that is just not the case and if you send a demand letter the wrong way you may actually compromise your ability to bring a whistleblower action later on or worse wind up like Michael Avenatti indicted for blackmail.

In vetting the top whistleblower lawyers, first, you should find a firm that lines up with the type of qui tam lawsuit you intend to file and make sure the whistleblower law firm you’re considering handles that type of case.  Here are many different types of whistleblowers cases, False Claims Act, SEC whistleblowers, CFTC whistleblowers, cryptocurrency whistleblowers, IRS whistleblower, state law whistleblowers.  Not every case is a whistleblower action.  Just because you believe you know a company is acting illegally or unethically doesn’t automatically give you rights under federal laws or whistleblower statutes.  For example, unless you’re in California or Illinois, if you know of a private insurance company being defrauded the case is not actionable under classical qui tam or whistleblower statutes.

Although, you can have a whistleblower action from being an outsider, that is being defrauded yourself or knowing someone defrauded, the real emphasis for whistleblower statutes is on the insiders and knowing of a pattern of fraud.  Some Courts will look to see if you have insider information to qualify for a whistleblower award and may actually allow a defendant to dismiss your case if you can’t show the pattern of overbilling or fraud through the whistleblower complaint itself.

In part 2 of the Secrets of the Best Whistleblower Lawyers, we will take you through more detail about the different types of whistleblower actions and the potential whistleblower awards, and as always feel free to reach to our Jersey City based whistleblower law firm Brown, LLC, handling cases and offering free whistleblower consultations nationwide and the firm is only paid in most circumstances if we win your case.

Will Nike’s Slogan “It’s Gotta Be the Shoes” Come Back to Haunt Them

According to MarketWatch.com, is this the beginning of another mass tort? 

A basketball player from the storied Duke franchise, Zion Williamson’s knee may have torn apart when his sneaker certainly did.

We’re hoping this is a one-time incident and that Mr. Williamson has a full recovery.  If you know of any other Nike shoe or Nike sneaker injuries, we’d like to hear about it, so call our mass tort team at (877) 561-0000 to discuss your rights.  Please note we are just investigating the matter at this point and there is no guarantee we will litigate this or any other case.

How Can I File A Whistleblower Lawsuit Under the False Claims Act?

Whistleblower Lawyer Chicago, IL

Under the False Claims Act (FCA) you are not permitted to file a lawsuit without the use of a whistleblower law firm.  Just like you wouldn’t try to do your own surgery, filing your own lawsuit is generally a foolish idea, and is in fact prohibited under the FCA.

The False Claims Act generally involves the reporting of illegal activities conducted by a facility or particular person, which causes the government to suffer a loss of funds. There are many types of whistleblower cases that can be reported and filed since fraud against the government, and federally funded programs occur in various industries, such as Medicare Fraud, Medicaid Fraud, Defense Contractor Fraud, Contract Fraud and Education Fraud.  Almost any type of economic fraud against the government can be remedied with the False Claims Act. A whistleblower case, which can also be referred to as a Qui Tam lawsuit, is initiated after a person with information exposing the fraudulent activities comes forward with appropriate evidence in the correct manner by filing the lawsuit under seal with a disclosure statement with the use of qui tam counsel.

What Information Qualifies for Whistleblower Cases?

Individuals who witness illegal activities at their workplace are not always sure whether they may qualify as a whistleblower and if the evidence they may be able to collect would be eligible for the filing of a case under the various statutes such as the False Claims Act (FCA). Understanding the qualifying criteria for these cases is important to help individuals, including employees, know if they can come forward, how they can come forward, and what procedures need to be followed.

Generally, a whistleblower is a person who is an insider who is in the position to blow the whistle using their detailed information regarding the illegal conduct at the company.  People from all different positions have filed whistleblower cases that succeeded, the core information is if the business interfaces with the government, and how it is defrauding the government.  The bulk of whistleblowers under the FCA are people in the medical field, like Doctors, Nurses, CNAs, Hospital Administrators and other Health Care Workers. But almost anyone who has inside information about fraud against the government can serve as a whistleblower, including, bookkeepers, executives, sales consultants, tax consultants, assistants, receptionists, and office or inside workers.  The issues of attorney-client privilege still attach so professionals like lawyers and accountants may be precluded from blowing the whistle in certain circumstances.

For a lawsuit to qualify as a whistleblower case under the FCA, the first important fact to establish is that these cases must be related to a party committing fraud that is adversely affecting the government.   There are other types of whistleblower statutes for other types of frauds, but the most successful ones in recent years have been the False Claims Act which requires the use of a False Claims Act Lawyer, the SEC Whistleblower Provisions, the CFTC Whistleblower Provisions and various state qui tams like Illinois False Claims Act and California False Claims Act, which also provide for relief against frauds against private insurance companies.

Examples of a False Claims Act fact pattern is as follows.  A hospital or a nursing home who bills Medicare or Medicaid for an extra night for its patients when they have already been discharged., a Defense Contractor who allows faulty parts to go to the government and certifies they are compliant and knows they are not, and a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative who knowingly promotes a drug for off-label purposes which can be its own topic about how the government is harmed.

Conclusion

Fraud occurs in the healthcare industry, as well as many other industries. If you think you have information regarding your employer defrauding Medicare, Medicaid or committing other types of fraud, you should speak with a whistleblower lawyer Chicago, IL trusts at Brown, LLC – who offers free, confidential consultations nationwide, and is only paid if they win your qui tam lawsuit.

What to Do When You’re in an Accident with a Truck

If you were unfortunately in an accident with a Truck, you need to speak with a truck accident lawyer that is experienced and is results oriented, like former FBI Special Agent Jason T. Brown, of Brown, LLC, Jersey City, NJ (but handling cases all over the country such as York, PA, Rochester, NY, Chicago, IL).  First of all, it’s important to take care of you first!  One of the questions truck accident defense lawyers like to ask is, “Who did you call first – your lawyer or your doctor?”  If you’re badly injured from a truck accident, of course, you need to seek medical treatment first, but they key is not to wait.  Don’t delay.  Delay favors the Truck Carrier.

From the moment of collision, the truck companies have insurance people and defense attorneys working on the case to try to insulate themselves from liability and to minimize the payout to the trucking accident victim, if anything at all.  They will try to reach out to you and lock you into your version of what occurred, even while you’re still in the hospital or on medicine that makes you loopy.  You have to avoid making statements before retaining counsel.  Even the most innocuous thing can hurt you.  For example, one of the most common questions a sly insurance investigator may ask you just a couple days after the truck accident, is something along the lines, “Hi – I’m John Smith with ABC Trucker’s Insurance, I just have a few questions, so we can find out what sort of compensation if any we’re going to offer you.  Before we begin, how are you doing today?”  As soon as you answer politely, “I’m doing great, how about you,” they will memorialize that the injured person indicated they were doing great only two days after the accident and use it against you.

Truck Accidents are serious business and the trucking insurance company has learned to spend big bucks up front to try derail your case before it begins which can save them the hundreds of thousands or millions you might be entitled to if you retained a truck accident injury lawyer shortly after the accident occurs.  Why are they such big cases?  First, the injuries are much more severe.  Truck accidents easily cause death, broken bones, concussions, and other life-altering injuries.  Also, under most state laws, the legislatures have recognized the potential for a truck injury to create major injuries, so they make the trucking company hold larger insurance policies than just a normal vehicle.

Ride-share accidents are on the rise, since the ride-share services promote individuals to carry passengers in a commercial setting, even though they may be brand new without being trained in ride-along fashion or familiar with the roads they are driving on. Since ride-shares like Uber Accidents and Lyft Accidents are commercial in nature when the are carrying a passenger, even though the smaller vehicles may not cause the extent of injury that a trucking injury would, they carry commercial policies and its best to retain ride-share counsel to deal with those entities as well.

Once you’ve retained your truck accident lawyer, he or she will guide you regarding the next steps, but acting quickly is the key.  You want to identify the police who took the report and obtain a copy (which counsel can do for you), find out if any tickets were issued, potentially photograph the scene of the accident to see if there are any factors that led to the accident, and put the truck on notice of the pending claim and to preserve all relevant evidence.  There’s many factors that need to converge to make your case a success, that is why if you were unfortunately in an accident with a truck or a ride-share, you should speak with Brown, LLC, Jersey City, NJ to know your rights and receive a free consultation.

Large Truck Accidents = Large Truck Accident Verdicts

Law360 reported today that there has been a large escalation in truck accident verdicts.  Citing to a truck accident verdict in Texas for over $100 million, that followed another Texas verdict for $90 million dollars, some thought has been put in why these verdicts are starting to pick up as much steam a big rig on the highway without a speed limit or speed governor.

 

One school of thought is that the plaintiff’s truck accident counsel have integrated technology better and are integrating it into their presentations from start to finish.   In the past (and still in the present), the defense has had the leap and luxury of generally being notified of the truck accident first through insurance and boxing in the accident victim in a variety of ways such as  interviewing them without counsel and coercing them to make inadvertent statements to hurt their cases.  With technology people have mobile phones with search capabilities and almost immediately after an accident instead of being cajoled by the insurance company, there is the chance to speak with a truck accident law firm about one’s rights.

Some people have taken issue about the representations that insurance companies unfairly interview unrepresented parties early, asserting the truth is the truth.  But something subtle and simple can come back to haunt a truck accident plaintiff, like the questions, “How are you feeling today?” eliciting a reply of “I’m fine.  How are you.”  This can be written up by the claims adjuster that the victim was feeling fine the day he or she was interviewed shortly after the accident, so why do they have so many truck accident injuries now?

Another focus of root factor influencing these large truck accident verdicts is the more detailed examination of compliance.  Like the defendants and insurances companies who interlink and formulate corroborated defenses and defense techniques, the plaintiffs bar has been collectively pooling resources to keep abreast of what’s working, what to look for, and how to delve into regulatory issues affecting liability.

Further along the technology front, with advances in technology its easier to create computerized models of accidents for the jury to sink their teeth into recreating the accident and evaluate liability and accident reconstructionist are more accessible and at time affordable in the context of the potential liability.  Drones have been used to show 3D versions of the areas and juries can relate to the emerging technology.

If heaven forbid you find yourself in a truck accident you speak with an experienced law firm that handles truck accident litigation like Brown, LLC (formerly JTB Law Group, LLC). The truck accident lawyers at (877) 561-0000 are always ready to speak with you about your case and to travel to meet with you anywhere in the country.

Another Pick Off-Play? Not so fast….

Consumer class actions and class actions in general have been under attack by soulless corporations.  First, many corporations insert arbitration clauses that prohibit class actions and ironically make it cost prohibitive to arbitrate so people are out of luck and companies are emboldened to rob consumers blind.  After all, if a behemoth company with ten million subscribers overcharges its customers a quarter a month, that’s 2.5 million a month for the company which equates to 25 million dollars a year.  Yet to the individual consumer the damages of a quarter a month amount to $3 a year, so the cost for invoking an arbitration may be 100 times that and without a class action mechanism it is hard to have a class action law firm or consumer lawyer file an individual claim over $3.  The public companies in the end who are beholden to their stockholders and not their customers are incentivized to jam in adhesion arbitration clauses to line their pockets and pull in profits for their shareholders and executives and disincentivized to do the right thing.

Even if they’re called out for their wrongful conduct, they can just cut the individual check for the $3 and they’ve made out like bandits.  In cases where there’s no arbitration clause, sometimes an individual files a class action on behalf of all the people who have been wronged by the company and the company attempting to head off the liability early, offers full relief to the lead plaintiff in an effort to stop their from being a class action.  This is referred to as a pick-off play, like a baseball runner at first base who leans a little too far being thrown out to end the inning, the defendant is trying to end the lawsuit.

In a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) case against Work Out World (WOW), after taking parts of the case all the way to the third circuit and losing, tried the pick-off play by allegedly depositing the full damages into the plaintiff’s account.   Judge Sheridan in the Federal District of New Jersey held that the case could proceed anyway.  The Judge wrote, ““Here, it is apparent that WOW sought settlement with plaintiff in an attempt to thwart class certification.  However, to deny class certification at this point would be to deprive her of a ‘fair opportunity to show that certification is warranted,’” which referenced the United States Supreme Court’s Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez. The 7th Circuit and the 9th Circuit have come to similar conclusions, that essentially the absentee class has a right to have it concerns addressed and with a pick off play, it does not effectively stymie the ability of the court to rule on the issues of class certification.

Corporate unaccountability must be met with assertive litigation to hold it accountable when the company cannot police itself.  Similarly, sometimes employees who try to vindicate their Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rights and try to have the Courts or a jury ascertain how much they’re owed, fall prey to a pick off play to try and stop it from blossoming into a collective action or a Rule 23 Class Action for violations of state law such as New York Wage and Hour Laws, or Illinois wage rights.  We commend those that champion the cause of holding companies accountable and who soldier on in litigation not just for their own interested but for others that are damaged but don’t have the time or inclination to directly file something like an overtime lawsuit.