Industries

Healthcare

Ifrah Law represents major health, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and executives in the defense of federal and state criminal prosecutions and in civil litigation.  In fact, our founding partner has been listed by Nightingale’s Healthcare News as one of 12 outstanding fraud and compliance attorneys in the U.S. and recognized by LexisNexis as an expert in healthcare and securities fraud.

We have represented some of the largest players in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry, including pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. In one such case, we obtained a dismissal of a complaint alleging million dollar claims under the False Claims Act. We have also successfully represented the owner of a pharmaceutical supply company who was indicted for multiple counts of false statements relating to commercial transactions in the secondary wholesale market. Through our persistence and responsiveness, we prevailed in convincing the U.S. Attorney handling the case to dismiss the indictment in its entirety.

Defending a Healthcare Provider Against Claims of Fraud

Our client, a prominent anesthesiologist, employed a medical services billing specialist to submit insurance claims for his practice and surgery center. The terms of the specialist’s contract stated that she would receive 18% of each claim she filed using a specific step-by-step submission and follow-up process.

After the billing specialist was terminated for not following the established submission procedures, she sued the doctor to retain her full commission on outstanding claims she had worked on prior to her dismissal, including those that hadn’t yet been paid. In addition to this contract dispute, she also accused our client and his surgery center of fraud, alleging that they funneled money into a “secret account” to avoid paying her commission under the contract.

Although there was very little basis for the fraud claim, the court allowed it to move forward.  Jeff understood the importance of attempting a settlement on the contract claim, so he analyzed the agreement and claims reports and devised a methodology for valuing the claim. When the plaintiff refused to settle, Jeff and the client pursued mediation with confidence, understanding both the fair value of the case and specific details of the parties’ contract. During mediation, the plaintiff’s side raised several arguments that demonstrated their lack of familiarity with the contract.  Jeff’s thorough understanding of certain provisions allowed the defendant to quickly address and dismiss the arguments.  As a result, the plaintiff ended up settling for much less than she originally claimed.

While the settlement terms are confidential, our client was thrilled with the final result, not only with the amount and the dismissal of the fraud claims, but also in terms of how well the matter was handled. 

 

Successfully Negotiating the Sale of Assets During a Government Investigation

When a company that is under investigation for money laundering decides to sell its assets, what was once a straightforward sales process becomes a complex negotiation. That is what happened with our client, a provider of diagnostic testing equipment.

Ifrah Law and Michelle Cohen represented the company in its sale of radiology and cardiology diagnostic services equipment, which involved numerous challenges. Understandably, the buyer was concerned about the ongoing criminal investigation, and Michelle worked closely with them to address their concerns about representations and warranties and possible post-sale seizure from the government. Additionally, since there were bank liens on some of the assets, Michelle worked with the bank’s outside counsel to arrange a prompt payoff, obtain a satisfactory pay-off letter and secure a release of the liens in order to close the deal. Michelle also worked with the buyer to create a creditor payment plan that would payoff unsecured creditors and obtain releases from them in order to address the buyer’s concerns about unsecured creditors seeking relief from the buyer. Finally, she created an employee fund (funded by the buyer) to pay for uncompensated leave time.

These complicated issues were resolved in less than two weeks, as a result of Michelle’s skilled negotiations with all parties. The buyer was represented by Delaware’s largest law firm.

 

Successfully Defending a Government Contractor Against a Terminated Employee’s Health Care Claim

Ifrah Law successfully defended a government contractor against claims by a terminated company employee. Our client, a health care professional supplier, faced allegations that it failed to offer the former employee COBRA insurance coverage, as required under the COBRA statute.

Ifrah Law conducted a bench trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in January 2012. The judge sustained minimal claims and awarded the plaintiff a mere $500.

(Middlebrooks v. Godwin Corporation, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, No. 1:10CV1306))

 

Securing Dismissal of a False Claims Qui Tam Suit

Jeff Ifrah successfully represented global healthcare leader Merck in a False Claims Act qui tam suit and got the case dismissed.

The suit involved a whistleblower that worked for a healthcare buying company (a group purchasing organization that purchases supplies and drugs). Terminated from the buying group, the employee alleged she was retaliated against because of issues she raised about the buying process.

The case was brought before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and 18 drug companies were named as defendants in an alleged bribery scheme. Jeff represented Merck, which was one of the named defendants. He filed a successful motion to dismiss the complaint, based on the former employee’s alarming lack of specificity in her claim.

Not only was our motion to dismiss successful, it was efficient: Jeff won the dismissal roughly one year after Merck and the other defendants were originally served.

(United States ex rel. Fitzgerald v. Novation LLC, et al., S.D. Tex., No. 3:03-CV-01589))

 

Supreme Court Expands Whistleblower Protection

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that Sarbanes–Oxley extends whistleblower protection, not just to employees of public companies, but to employees of private contractors and subcontractors that serve public companies. In a 6-3 decision, the Court rejected the First Circuit’s narrow construction of the statute in favor of the Labor Department’s more expansive interpretation. Now […]

Read More

Omnicare Decision Limits the Reach of False Claims Act

A recent decision by the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit limiting the reach of the False Claims Act demonstrates how relators who pursue cases in which the government declines to intervene can end up making law that is unfavorable to the government’s enforcement of that statute. United States ex rel. Rostholder v. Omnicare, […]

Read More

Healthcare Fraud Recoveries at All-Time High Since 2009

Fiscal year 2013 marked the fourth consecutive year in which the Department of Justice has recovered at least $2 billion from cases involving charges of healthcare fraud.  Make no mistake: these record-setting yields were no accident.  The Obama Administration has prioritized busting healthcare fraudsters since it took office, and for good reason.  A 2009 analysis […]

Read More

Online Pharma Exec Gets 4 Years in Prison for Selling Foreign Drugs in U.S.

Andrew Strempler, a Canadian citizen who helped to pioneer the cross-border online pharmacy industry, was sentenced on January 9, 2013, to four years in prison in connection with allegations that his former company sold fake and misbranded drugs to U.S. citizens. The sentence follows Strempler’s guilty plea in October in federal court in Miami to […]

Read More

Are the Feds Enlisting FedEx to Police the Illegal Pharma Market?

The government may be coming up with a new cost-effective measure to help balance the federal budget – enlisting private companies to do their policing. A 2011 settlement between the Justice Department and Google for $500 million is one recent example. Under the settlement, Google acknowledged responsibility for improperly aiding rogue pharmacies by allowing the […]

Read More

  • Like Us on Facebook