Law Offices Of Warner Mendenhall
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We are dedicated to representing whistleblowers who seek to expose misuse of government funds. Located in Akron, Ohio we have represented whistleblowers employed in the health care, defense, railroad and forestry industries. Additionally, we have represented local and federal governmental employees who have exposed wrong-doing by government contractors, local governments, and government officials.
Federal False Claims Cases: The harsh reality
Although the headlines spout some huge settlements against fraudsters, the reality of False Claims Act cases is that they are not easy for the whistleblowers. After identifying a false claim, most whistleblowers complain internally. They try to use their company hotlines or compliance processes to do the right thing. When that fails, many whistleblowers lose their jobs. Then they seek counsel to evaluate whether or not the issue is worth pursuing. If it is, and a case gets filed, the government then reviews the case to decide whether or not to intervene on behalf of the whistleblower. About 1 in 6 filed False Claims Act cases achieves government intervention. What happens with the rest? Most of those are dismissed as many relators and their counsel lack the resources to proceed with the case without government intervention. Even when the government intervenes, most cases settle for $2 mil or less with about 16.5% going to the Relator. Even faced with the harsh reality, most whistleblowers want to proceed with doing the right thing. If that is you, we are here to help.
The Scope Of The False Claims Act
The FCA is broadly applicable to almost any situation where federal dollars are involved. Given the Act’s current structure it seems that categories of qui tam cases will grow--limited only by the qui tam plaintiff’s tenacity and ingenuity. This possibility is reflected in the many categories of cases resulting in qui tam recoveries including, but not limited to, Failures To Report Fraud; Fraudulent Pre-selection Of Beneficiaries For Federal Programs; Defense Contracting; False Certifications Of Compliance With Environmental Laws
An Overview Of The False Claims Act
False Claims Overview
The General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates that medical fraud and abuse approaches 10% of all health care expenditures or $100 billion dollars. To reduce this thievery, the Justice Department and private litigators have used the False Claims Act (FCA) as the fraud fighting weapon of choice. Private litigators are given standing to file civil suit on the Federal government’s behalf by the FCA’s qui tam, or “whistleblower” provisions. Qui tam is short for qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur or ``he who brings the action for the king as well as for himself [sic].”
These provisions gained renewed public attention following the 1986 False Claims Act Amendments. The 1986 Amendments made it easier for qui tam relators to file claims and increased the rewards for doing so. Initially, the FCA was used to fight defense contractor fraud, but it was soon applied to other areas of government spending, including Medicare and Medicaid.
The qui tam provisions’ growing application to medical fraud reflects their effectiveness. In 1988, medical fraud recoveries, using the qui tam provisions, totaled a mere 1 percent of the total qui tam recoveries--the majority were defense related.6 By 1993, that total had grown to 46 percent and has remained over one third of total qui tam recoveries ever since.
In the United States, laws dating back to 1790 authorized private citizens to sue on behalf of the Federal Government.8 However, the FCA statute being used today passed in March 1863 following Congressional reaction to fraud perpetrated by Union Army suppliers. The triggering incident occurred when a key Union position was jeopardized by the delivery of rifle and ammunition boxes containing only sawdust.
Known as the Lincoln Law, defendants shown to have defrauded the government faced penalties of double the damages suffered by the government plus a $2,000 civil penalty per false claim.10 The qui tam relator received fifty per cent of the recovery.
In 1943, Congress amended the FCA following a multitude of “parasitic” lawsuits in which plaintiffs sued based on information already in the government’s possession. The Congressional changes barred use of information in the public record and lowered the reward to between 10 and 25 percent of any recovery. As a result, until Congress changed the law in 1986, few qui tam cases were filed.
During the 1980s defense buildup, reports of $400 dollar hammers and $800 dollar toilet seats led Congress to revise the statute. The 1986 FCA amendments raised the reward for qui tam plaintiffs to between 15 and 30 percent of the recovery, eased restrictions on the use of public information, and inserted provisions to allow the plaintiff to recover damages stemming from workplace retaliation. As a result, qui tam lawsuits dramatically increased.
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False Claims And Qui Tam Update
You have a right to sue for improper claims for payment.
Veterans And For Profit Schools
For-profit schools are ripping off millions of students. Here is a good article on issues…READ MORE
10 Largest False Claims, Stark Law And Anti-Kickback Settlements Of 2014
Congratulations to the whistleblowers and there attorneys. $750 million and counting... This year is on track…READ MORE
Relator’s Shares Smaller Than Statutory Guidelines
Although Relator Shares are supposed to be between 15-30% of the overall award the reality…READ MORE
We Are Here To Help?
Even when the government intervenes, most cases settle for $2 mil or less with about 16.5% going to the Relator. Even faced with the harsh reality, most whistleblowers want to proceed with doing the right thing. If that is you, we are here to help.
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Attorney Warner Mendenhall has
- Filed suit on behalf of local whistleblowers who exposed the misuse of federal dollars at the local level.
- Filed suit and assisted whistleblowers seeking to inform the federal government about misuse of Federal Funds in federal programs.
- Filed a Freedom of Information Act case against the U.S. EPA, DOE, and Military to force them to reveal documentation of illegal radioactive dumping in Uniontown, Ohio. Coleridge v. U.S. Army, ND of Ohio
- Assisted many local political candidates throughout Northern Ohio seeking to reform local government.
- Defended the campaign finance reforms passed by Akron voters.
- Served two terms on Akron City Council where he challenged the legality and constitutionality of City Council's actions, even when faced with overwhelming opposition by entrenched politicians.