West Chester, PA – A woman whose parents burned to death in a nursing home fire claims in court that a series of blunders by multiple parties resulted in a preventable catastrophe.
As parents, we like to think sending our children to school on the bus is safe. In reality, school bus accidents occur every year, often resulting in catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. In these moments it is difficult to think about involving a lawyer, however the sooner you engage a qualified lawyer, the sooner your child and family’s legal interests are protected and you can focus solely on your child and families well-being.
The United States Department of Justice and numerous state governments have intervened in numerous qui tam whistleblower suits, including one brought by Philadelphia based law firm McEldrew Young against INSYS Therapeutics, Inc. . The suit alleges, among other things, that INSYS engaged in a nationwide illegal scheme to increase profits from Subsys, a fentanyl sublingual spray and schedule II controlled substance.
Were you diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) after receiving breast implants? Are you experiencing swelling, fluid retention, lumps, hardening or pain in or around your implants? If so, please read below.
The FDA recently announced that individuals with breast implants have a risk of developing breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer, but a cancer of the immune system (a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma). In most cases, BIA-ALCL is found in the scar tissue and fluid near the implant, but in some cases, it can spread throughout the body.
A recent study from a leading U.S. medical journal found that breast implants are associated with increased risk of breast ALCL, but the absolute risk has not been determined. To date, the FDA has received more than 400 medical device reports relating to BIA-ALCL, including 9 deaths.
Manufactures of the breast implants include Mentor/Johnson & Johnson, Allergan/Actavis, and Sientra.
In April 2018, McEldrew Young and Ross Feller Casey filed what is believed to be the first lawsuit in the nation against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries relating to BIA-ALCL. The suit was brought on behalf of Renee Cashen, 45, of Ashville, Ohio, who developed anaplastic large cell lymphoma eight years after having surgery to implant MemoryGel® SILTEX® implants, made by Mentor Worldwide (read more about the case).
The implants that have shown to increase risks of BIA-ALCL can be either silicone gel or saline with either a textured or smooth surface, although findings suggests that the textured variety have led to the condition far more often.
It can take more than 10 years for BIA-ALCL to develop. Patients who develop the disease typically undergo surgery to remove the implant and surrounding breast capsule, while others may be treated with radiation and chemotherapy.
Symptoms of BIA-ALCL may include:
- Fluid buildup
- Breast lump or lumps
- Hardening of or mass around the implants
Breast Implant Cancer Detection
Once patients have symptoms such as those listed above, doctors collect fluid samples for testing. Positive results include the presence of malignant T-cells. Doctors may also use a number of different tests to diagnose non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, such as:
- Chest X-rays
- Physical exams
- Ultrasound imaging tests
- Computed tomography (CT) scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scans
You may qualify for a BIA-ALCL lawsuit if you:
- Underwent a breast augmentation surgery, regardless of whether it was reconstructive or cosmetic, and
- Developed the rare ALCL form of lymphoma, even if your diagnosis occurred many years after getting implants
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with BIA-ALCL, you may be entitled to compensation, but your time to file a lawsuit is limited. Please call 1-888-4 BIA-ALCL to speak to a McEldrew Young BIA-ALCL lawsuit attorney.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, passed overnight and signed this morning by President Trump to end the second federal government shutdown of this year, includes two key provisions for whistleblowers previously introduced by Senator Charles Grassley but removed from the January budget deal.
For IRS whistleblowers, the law clarifies the term collected proceeds to include criminal fines and civil forfeitures as well as violations of reporting requirements. The IRS has previously taken the position that tax whistleblowers are only eligible for rewards based on fines pursuant to Title 26. This interpretation was rejected by the U.S. Tax Court last year and the Government appealed to the D.C. Circuit to reverse the decision. This section essentially resolves that appeal and affirms the U.S. Tax Court decision giving a broad definition to the term.
The legislation will also unify the tax treatment of whistleblower awards for the major laws. For some time, whistleblowers awarded money under the Federal False Claims Act and IRS whistleblower program were entitled to an above-the-line tax deduction for their attorney fees. The tax deduction did not clearly extend to CFTC and SEC whistleblowers, or rewards under the State False Claims Acts. These awards were subject to taxation of the entire amount received by the individual and then again for the amount paid by the client to the law firm.
In other words, IRC sections 62(a)(20) and 62(a)(21) allowed False Claims Act relators and IRS whistleblowers to only pay taxes for the amount received after paying their attorney fees. The law firm is responsible for paying tax on the amount of attorney fees that they are paid by their client. The legislation extends the above-the-line deduction to Dodd Frank Act whistleblowers and relators paid under the state False Claims Acts. Notably, it does not mention the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act, which was
We have discussed these issues several times on this blog since the Grassley Amendments were initially introduced into the Senate’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in November 2017. If you have questions about these or other aspects of the whistleblower laws, please call 1-800-590-4116 to speak to a McEldrew Young whistleblower attorney.
The CFTC announced enforcement actions against three banks and six individuals for spoofing at the end of January. The three banks, Deutsche Bank, UBS, and HSBC, were charged with spoofing in precious metals futures contracts trading on the Commodity Exchange, Inc. (COMEX).
The fine against Deutsche Bank was the largest imposed by the CFTC to date for spoofing-related misconduct. The cases were investigated and filed by the CFTC Enforcement Division’s Spoofing Task Force, a new coordinated effort to handle this type of market manipulation.
Deutsche Bank and a subsidiary agreed to pay a $30 million civil monetary penalty. UBS AG agreed to pay a $15 million civil monetary penalty. The HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. involved the conduct of one trader in the New York office and HSBC agreed to pay a $1.6 million civil monetary penalty.
A statement by CFTC Director of Enforcement James McDonald indicated that the UBS self-reported the misconduct and that the fine for each of the banks would have been substantially higher if not for their substantial cooperation.
Spoofing is a type of market manipulation through technology that uses electronic and algorithmic trading to inject false information into the market that distorts prices and tricks others into trading at the manipulated prices. The anti-spoofing provision in the Dodd-Frank Act made it illegal to bid or offer with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution in the commodities market. The SEC has had the authority to punish spoofing through a civil fine since the 1930s.
The civil complaints against the individuals involved three cases of spoofing for major banks, two individuals who engaged in spoofing at proprietary trading firms, and one individual (as well as the company) that built a program designed to spoof the market. The market manipulation happened in some of the most heavily traded futures contracts in the world.
McDonald renewed the CFTC’s commitment to facilitate electronic trading and other new market opportunities while holding wrongdoers accountable and deterring future misconduct. This includes individual actions against those who teach others how to spoof, build tools designed to spoof, and otherwise aid and abet wrongdoing.
Spoofing has been an area of focus at the CFTC over the past few years as it implemented the Dodd-Frank Act and began bringing civil and criminal enforcement actions. The $46.6 million in settlements, from the January actions, is the largest to date.
There was no mention in the press release about how the CFTC came to be aware of the misconduct by DB and HSBC. The CFTC will soon issue Notices of Covered Action alerting any CFTC whistleblowers to file a claim for a reward. If a whistleblower alerted the government or provided substantial assistance during the investigation, the individual may be eligible for a reward of between 10 and 30 percent of the fine.
If you have evidence of a bank division or other trading professional engaged in spoofing of the futures or commodities markets, call McEldrew Young at 1-800-590-4116 to speak to a whistleblower attorney about reporting it.
The largest study of the link between breast implants and lymphoma to date found that there is a greatly increased risk of a rare cancer, according to the report published this month in JAMA Oncology. The study found breast implants are associated with a 421 times greater risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
This scientific evidence linking breast implants to ALCL could spark another wave of class action lawsuits by women seeking compensation for their injuries. In the 1990s, women claiming injuries from silicone breast implants agreed to a $3.7 billion settlement with several companies.
BIA-ALCL, the acronym for it, is a cancer of the immune system rather than a form of breast cancer. The absolute risk of this type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a woman with breast implants is estimated to be 1 in 7,000. For every 7,000 women with breast implants, one will get BIA-ALCL. An article in JAMA Surgery last fall previously put the affected range from 1 in 4,000 women to 1 in 30,000 women with breast implants.
According to an FDA announcement last year, the agency received more than 350 reports of the cancer linked to breast implants between June 2010 to February 2017. The precise cause of the increased risk is not yet known. However, the study found the majority of the cases of BIA-ALCL had textured implants rather than smooth surface ones. A review of 115 scientific articles last year focusing on BIA-ALCL found 93 cases of the cancer in the medical literature.
Textured implants gained in popularity in the 1990s. The average time to diagnosis of BIA-ALCL is about 10 years after getting the breast implants. Researchers expect that the number of BIA-ALCL cases diagnosed will increase because the rates of women getting breast implants are increasing every year.
If you or a loved one have had a diagnosis of ALCL following breast implants (whether textured or smooth surface), call McEldrew Young’s attorneys at 1-800-590-4116 to speak to a personal injury attorney in a free consultation.
The Department of Justice recovered more then $3.7 billion in settlements and judgments in Fiscal Year 2017 from the False Claims Act according to the press release issued last week. The majority of the funds recovered were in lawsuits initiated by whistleblowers. Qui tam lawsuits led to $3.4 billion of the $3.7 billion in settlements and judgments.
Whistleblowers received $392 million during FY2017 for bringing fraud to the attention of the United States and the Department of Justice. Whistleblower awards were down from last year, when the United States paid out $519 million to whistleblowers based on the recovery of $2.9 billion. The False Claims Act provides for awards of between 15 and 30 percent of funds recovered from False Claims Act lawsuits.
There were 669 qui tam lawsuits filed during the last fiscal year. The number is the fourth highest on record since the 1986 amendments of the False Claims Act. This number was down from Fiscal Year 2016, when there were 702 qui tam lawsuits filed. The highest number of new matters filed by whistleblowers was in Fiscal Year 2013. Many of these cases will still be working their way through the legal system as government investigations into matters may take years before litigation starts in earnest.
The majority of the funds recovered by the federal government in FY 2017 were from the health care industry. The government recovered $2.4 billion from health care fraud, the eighth consecutive year that civil health care fraud settlements and judgments exceeded $2 billion. These funds have usually been taken inappropriately from Medicare or Medicaid, although there are other federal funded health care programs that lose money from health care fraud such as TRICARE, which is the managed service healthcare program for service members, reservists and their dependents.
Over $900 million in recoveries were from the drug and medical device industry. The government’s press release cited settlements by Shire ($350 million) and Mylan ($465 million) as examples. Other health care lawsuit settlements mentioned were Life Care Centers of America ($145 million) and eClinicalWorks ($155 million).
The Government reported settlements and judgments of $543 million from housing and mortgage fraud in FY 2017. The press release specifically mentioned a jury verdict of $296 million against Allied Home Mortgage as well as settlements with Financial Freedom ($89 million) and PHH Mortgage ($65 million).
There were a variety of other matters resolved under the False Claims Act in FY 2017, including procurement fraud, grant fraud, fraudulently obtained small business contracts, and fraudulently obtained government subsidies for discounted mobile phone services to low-income consumers.
The recoveries detailed by these numbers include around 8.5 months during the Trump Administration and 3.5 months during the Obama Administration as the United States fiscal year runs from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017. In total, the United States has recovered more than $56 billion since 1986 when Congress amended the civil False Claims Act.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the reconciliation of the tax legislation has dropped the definition of collected proceeds for the IRS whistleblower program introduced into the Senate version that passed. The amendment was added by Senator Chuck Grassley, an advocate for whistleblowers and responsible for introducing the legislative provision in 2007 that created the IRS whistleblower program.
The reconciliation process is used to achieve a final bill when there are differences in the bills passed by the House and Senate. The original version of the tax bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives did not include Senator Grassley’s amendments.
The definition of collected proceeds for the IRS whistleblower law is currently under review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The proposed measure would have codified an interpretation of the term collected proceeds to provide whistleblowers a percentage of both criminal fines and civil forfeitures. The IRS argued in U.S. Tax Court last year that these funds were not included in the term. The U.S. Tax Court decided a broad interpretation of the term was warranted in a decision that favored the whistleblowers. The ruling is now on appeal.
The reconciled bill also appears to have eliminated Senator Grassley’s other proposed amendment, to clarify that SEC and CFTC whistleblower awards are exempt from double taxation under the Civil Rights Tax Relief Act (adopted as part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004).
The potential for double taxation is created when successful whistleblowers must pay tax on the entire amount of their award and then the whistleblower’s attorney pays tax on the portion they receive from the contingency fee. The Relief Act allows for an exemption for the contingent fee portion so that only one tax payment is made. As always, consult a tax lawyer for specific legal advice with regard to tax issues.
The reconciliation was passed by the U.S. House, 227-203, and the U.S. Senate, 51-48. It will now be sent to President Trump’s desk for signature.
We are reaching the end of a decade since mortgage fraud hit its peak in 2007. However, the latest settlement by IberiaBank suggests that at least one lender continued aspects of mortgage fraud against the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) well after becoming informed of their wrongdoing.
IberiaBank agreed to pay the United States more than $11 million in response to allegations that it did not comply with federal requirements on FHA mortgage loans. The settlement resulted from allegations made under the False Claims Act by whistleblowers who were formerly employed at the bank.
Similar to other allegations against banks during the financial crisis, IberiaBank admitted that certain loan files contained inadequate documentation on income, inadequate verification of the down payment, and unresolved appraisal discrepancies.
The most disturbing part of the allegations is that the bank told HUD that it was no longer paying underwriter commissions after a HUD review in 2010 notified IberiaBank that it was not in compliance with a prohibition on underwriter commissions. Nevertheless, the bank did not disclose that it was making incentive payments to underwriters. These payments continued to be made by the bank until 2014. As a result, the period of covered conduct for the settlement was from the beginning of 2005 until the end of 2014.
IberiaBank is not the only one to be in the news recently for problems in its mortgage department. Wells Fargo is in the process of refunding rate-lock extension fees assessed to mortgage borrowers where the delay was due to its practices. President Trump recently denied media reports that the U.S. was going to let Wells Fargo off the hook without a fine for falsifying records to blame the mortgage-processing delays on the consumers borrowing money. Instead, President Trump suggested in a tweet that while he has promised to cut regulations, penalties for those caught cheating would be severe.
According to media reports, Wells Fargo said that it assessed around $98 million in rate-lock extension fees, although it contends some of those were legitimate. Wells Fargo has already paid around $200 million in fines and penalties following allegations which emerged last year that it opened millions of fake accounts on behalf of customers.
If you are a current or former mortgage industry professional with evidence of lending fraud involving FHA loans, call our mortgage whistleblower attorneys at 1-800-590-4116 for a free, confidential initial consultation.