Husch Blackwell’s False Claims Act team previously covered the results of a rare False Claims Act (FCA) trial in which a federal jury found that a surgical product distributor was liable for paying kickbacks to physicians. The federal judge overseeing that trial initially entered judgment against the distributor defendants for $487 million after trebling the government’s actual damages and then adding penalties for each kickback-tainted claim.

On February 8, 2024, however, that same federal judge amended the judgment over concerns that the statutory penalties were unconstitutionally excessive. This article highlights the issue and explains what those accused of violating the FCA can learn from this decision.Continue Reading Federal Court Reduces FCA Penalties by 82 Percent Because of Excessive Fines Clause Concerns

Plaintiffs often disclose medical experts to opine not only as to the diagnosis or prognosis of an injury or medical condition, but also as to whether the defendant’s actions caused plaintiff’s alleged injury/condition. In the usual course of treatment, physicians often focus simply on the diagnosis a patient’s injury/condition, rather than on what caused it. Thus, when medical records contain statements regarding causation, those statements typically derive solely from a patient’s own subjective statements. It is therefore important to distinguish between a patient’s subjective causation statements and objective medical evidence.Continue Reading IPSE DIXIT: Because My Patient Said So – How to Challenge Medical Experts Who Base an Opinion of Injury Causation Solely on a Patient’s Self-Report

Large managed care plans have been squarely in DOJ’s crosshairs for years, but a late July 2023 Justice Department settlement agreement with one regional healthcare provider’s Medicare Advantage Plan offers a glimpse into an issue health systems and providers with their own managed care plans need to track.

This post examines the recent DOJ settlement, analyzes the trend towards enforcement of provider-owned managed care plans, and offers a prediction on what might be coming on the enforcement side.Continue Reading DOJ Continues Enforcement Efforts Against Provider-Owned Managed Care Plans

The Supreme Court issued a number of headline-grabbing decisions this term on topics like religious accommodation, LGBTQ protections, and consideration of race in college admissions. These decisions are wide-reaching and impact individuals, employers, and higher education institutions. Though not nearly as wide-reaching, the Supreme Court also issued two important decisions this year dealing with the False Claims Act (FCA) that could have dramatic impact nonetheless for those ensnared in an FCA action.Continue Reading False Claims Act Update: A Mid-Year Review (2023)

Cosmetic surgeries are on the rise. One study of cosmetic surgery data found that body procedures like tummy tucks, buttock augmentation, and liposuction increased by 63 percent from 2020 to 2021.[1] Facelifts were up 54 percent.[2] And breast procedures were up 48 percent.[3] According to that study, Americans spent over $14.6 billion on aesthetic procedures in 2021 with surgical revenues increasing by 63 percent.[4]Continue Reading Justice Department Sues Iowa Surgeon Under False Claims Act for Masking Non-Covered Cosmetic Procedures as Covered Surgeries

On February 27, 2023, a jury in Minnesota federal court rendered a verdict in favor of the United States and against a surgical product distributor following a False Claims Act jury trial that lasted six weeks.[1] The jury identified $43 million in Medicare payments flowing from 64,575 kickback-procured claims.Continue Reading Trial Lost, $400+ Million Liability Looming: Quick Takeaways From a Recent False Claims Act Jury Trial