False Claims Act (FCA) and other whistleblower claims cause major business disruptions and risk irreparable damage to a company. Clients faced with such claims hire us for our experience and track record defeating claims through motions or, if necessary, at trial.
Our team of former prosecutors and veteran litigators brings deep experience and focused creativity to the defense of clients against FCA and whistleblower lawsuits. Our diverse clients include pharmaceutical and health care companies; educational institutions; public entities; financial services firms; and businesses in the technology, manufacturing, and professional services sectors.
Our lawyers have successfully defeated these claims at every stage: prior to going public, terminating cases in their infancy, obtaining dismissal of the claims through dispositive motions, and, when necessary, prevailing on the claims at trial.
With respect to government investigations and claims, we rely on the decades-long relationships we have nurtured with state and federal regulatory agencies and departments, including the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and Department of Health and Human Services.
Won a complete defense verdict for PricewaterhouseCoopers after a three-week San Francisco federal trial. In Botta v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a former PwC auditor and SEC whistleblower alleged – as part of a worldwide public relations campaign – that PwC had engaged in shareholder fraud, auditing misconduct, and whistleblower retaliation. At the pleading stage, we obtained the dismissal with prejudice of seven PwC partners and several claims. The remaining claims proceeded to a bench trial where we prevailed for PwC on every issue in dispute, with the judge finding that “PwC’s witnesses and explanations for its actions were ‘more credible than Botta’s . . . Botta didn’t prove that PwC retaliated against him, wrongfully terminated him, or breached his employment agreement.” (See “Whistleblower accuses PwC of failings over private jet trip,” Financial Times; “PwC Rightly Fired Former Auditor, Judge Rules, Bloomberg Law).
Obtained a complete defense jury verdict for the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) after a four-week trial in a $65 million whistleblower case. In Roumi v. Caltech, we defeated all claims brought by a former Caltech research scientist alleging retaliation in academia and in business ventures after allegedly exposing Caltech’s misuse of government funds. Prior to trial, we obtained full dismissal of breach of contract and tortious interference claims and dismissal of an individual defendant. (See “Jury gives CalTech complete win over former researcher’s claims,” Daily Journal; “Hueston Hennigan Beats Back Whistleblower Claim Against CalTech,” The American Lawyer).
Secured a summary judgment in a major False Claims Act lawsuit alleging the misuse of hundreds of millions of government funds. In Lewis v. Caltech, a Caltech professor filed a qui tam lawsuit alleging that the school and three professors had defrauded the Department of Energy over the course of a 10+ year renewable energy research program by misdirecting program funding to non-conforming work in violation of conflicts of interest laws. We obtained dismissal of the entire lawsuit at summary judgment.
Prevailed in a whistleblower trial for the State Bar of California and its former president in an unprecedented lawsuit filed by Joseph Dunn, former state senator and State Bar executive director. Mr. Dunn alleged that the State Bar and its president retaliated against him and terminated his employment because he blew the whistle on ethical violations within the organization. After obtaining the early dismissal of several causes of action, we obtained summary judgment in favor of the former State Bar president. We proceeded to a five-day trial on the remaining claims, where we obtained a full verdict in favor of the State Bar on all causes of action, including Mr. Dunn’s whistleblower claim. (See “California Bar Wins Over Executive Director In Whistleblower Case,” Law360; “Arbitrator Rejects Remainder of Ousted Bar Leader’s Claims,” The Recorder).
Obtained early victories for Deloitte Consulting in False Claims Act action. In Rocco v. SAP, a qui tam plaintiff alleges that Deloitte Consulting conspired with SAP, exchanged illegal kickbacks, and submitted false claims for payment to defraud the City of San Diego out of public funds in connection with a software services project. We won numerous motions to dismiss at the pleading stage and on appeal, resulting in the dismissal of nearly all claims against Deloitte Consulting. We are currently defending Deloitte Consulting against the remaining claims.
Obtained a favorable settlement that did not require Tesla to make any payment. In U.S. ex rel. Lesnik, et al. v. Tesla, et al., represented Tesla in putative class action and qui tam action alleging violations of federal False Claims Act, RICO, federal and California wage-and-hour and human trafficking statutes. Successfully moved to dismiss most claims with prejudice and negotiated extremely favorable settlement for Tesla.
Prevailed in dismissing a novel false claims act lawsuit against Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The qui tam plaintiff alleged that defendants had made fraudulent and misleading statements to the US Patent and Trademark Office to obtain a patent covering an anti-inflammatory drug. We prevailed on a motion to dismiss. (See “Valeant Beats Patent Atty’s ‘Parasitic’ Whistleblower Claims,” Law360).
Obtained a full dismissal with prejudice of False Claims Act claims for the University of California, San Francisco in connection with an $80 million lawsuit. The suit alleged kickbacks, medically unnecessary procedures, improper use of sedation nurses, failure to properly supervise fellows/residents, failure to be present during key procedures, and other alleged violations of Medicare regulations.
Obtained a favorable pre-litigation settlement for professional services company in a whistleblower retaliation dispute.
Obtained declination of a criminal investigation and dismissal of parallel civil False Claims Act case for Edwards Lifesciences. False claims allegations related to Medicare/Medicaid eligibility for a heart catheter product, among other issues. Through an independent investigation and a series of presentations, we reversed the criminal charging decision and subsequently negotiated dismissal of a parallel civil matter without payment of any fine or penalty.
Secured declinations without payment of fine or penalty on behalf of the CEO of medical device manufacturer Masimo in criminal and parallel False Claims Act investigations.
Represented the University of California, San Diego in connection with whistleblower complaints raising False Claims Act and other issues related to Medicare/Medicaid billing for nephrology surgery. Conducted an internal investigation in response to the allegations and recommended compliance program improvements and disciplinary action against culpable personnel. The matter was resolved without government intervention.
Represented Eisenhower Medical Center in connection with False Claims Act investigations related to cost reports and submission of bills for a staff physician. Both matters were favorably settled.
Represented officers of DaVita in connection with two False Claims Act investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Represented officers at Northrop Grumman in five False Claims Act investigations, all of which were resolved without any charges against the individual clients or the company.
Obtained declinations of numerous Medicare and Medicaid fraud investigations, including on behalf of medical practices and providers of health, nursing and adult care, and ancillary service providers.