BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland on Sept. 25 denied an insurer’s motion to reconsider an earlier ruling dismissing its claims against a chiropractic clinic and chiropractors accused of submitting fraudulent bills but found that the company can file an amended complaint that satisfies the heightened pleading requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., et al. v. Carefree Land Chiropractic LLC, et al., No. 18cv1279, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166448).
MISSOULA, Mont. — A federal judge in Montana on Sept. 27 denied a man’s motion to suppress evidence taken from a compensation and pension (C&P) exam he underwent in order to determine the amount of disability benefits he could obtain from the Veteran Benefits Administration (VBA), finding that the admission of the information would not violate his right to due process under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (United States v. John Cicero Hughes, No. 18-38, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167127).
ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Sept. 16 granted in part an insurance company’s motion for summary judgment, finding that while it presented sufficient evidence showing that a nonphysician vice president of a chiropractic clinic was unjustly enriched by receiving reimbursements from the insurer, genuine disputes exist as to whether he knowingly intended to submit fraudulent claims to the company (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., et al. v. Family Practice and Rehab Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-223-Orl-28LRH, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159122).
NEW YORK — A federal magistrate judge in New York on Sept. 11 recommended imposing treble damages against two clinic owners accused of operating enterprises under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act when submitting false no-fault personal injury claims to insurance companies for reimbursement, holding that the companies presented sufficient evidence showing that the defendants submitted the claims through the mail (Allstate Insurance Co., et al. v. A&F Medical P.C., et al., No. 14-cv-6756, E.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156274).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 13 upheld the conviction of a Mississippi doctor who was found guilty of billing TRICARE, the health care benefit program serving U.S. military, veterans and their respective family members, and other insurance providers for prescriptions for compounded medicines containing ketamine that were written without first meeting the patient, finding that the evidence presented to the jury was sufficient to support its conclusion (United States v. Albert Diaz M.D., No. 18-60455, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 27803).
MIAMI — A federal judge in Florida on Sept. 12 sentenced a man to 20 years in prison for his role in a $37 million health care fraud scheme that began in 1998 and involved bribing physicians to have patients entered into a network of assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities that he owned (United States v. Philip Esformes, et al., No. 16cr20549, S.D. Fla.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California appeals panel on Sept. 12 upheld a lower court judge’s ruling granting a motion by a legal services owner to prematurely terminate his sentence for three years of probation after he pleaded guilty for his role in a workers’ compensation fraud scheme, finding that the prosecution was not deprived of the material terms of the defendant’s plea bargain (People v. Michael Angel Tuosto Jr., No. E071136, Calif. App., 4th Dist., 2nd Div., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6088).
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 9 vacated a federal judge in Alabama’s sua sponte decision to award summary judgment to a nursing facility accused of submitting claims to Medicare for the treatment of elderly patients who were falsely diagnosed as terminally ill, finding that a new trial should be held that considers all of the evidence the government has to support its claim for falsity under the False Claims Act (FCA) (United States v. AseraCare Inc., et al., No. 16-13004, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 27074).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 30 affirmed a man’s 70-month prison sentence he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, holding that a federal judge in Texas properly applied sentencing enhancements based on the defendant’s use of a Medicare beneficiary’s identification number to produce a Medicare claim number (United States v. Elekwachi Kalu, No. 18-20399, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 26466).
TAMPA, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 28 dismissed with prejudice a woman’s False Claims Act (FCA) retaliation claim that she was wrongfully terminated after complaining about her employer’s billing habits to Medicare and other insurance providers, finding that a severance agreement she signed waived her claims against the company (United States, ex rel. Melissa Higgins v. HealthSouth Corp., No. 14-cv-2769-T-33AEP, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146351).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Aug. 26 overruled a nonparty’s objections to a magistrate judge’s ruling ordering him to produce documents about his relationship with clinics and doctors accused of submitting fraudulent bills to State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., finding that the man’s arguments “did not carry the day” (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Elite Health Centers Inc., et al., No. 16cv13040, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144205).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal trial court’s improper admission of several doctors’ expert opinions in a health care fraud case against an Ohio cardiologist warrants review by the U.S. Supreme Court, the heart doctor — who was convicted by a jury — tells the high court in an Aug. 14 petition for a writ of certiorari (Harold Persaud v United States, No. 19-216, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 3330).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Aug. 26 overruled objections filed by doctors and clinics accused of submitting fraudulent bills to State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits to a magistrate judge’s ruling denying their request to move to disqualify two firms representing the insurer, holding that nothing in the magistrate judge’s ruling was “clearly erroneous or contrary to law” (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Elite Health Centers Inc., et al., No. 16cv13040, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144199).
DETROIT — An insurance fraud defendant’s objections to a magistrate judge’s ruling allowing the disclosure of statements he made to his now ex-wife that were contained in an affidavit she submitted were overruled by a federal judge in Michigan on Aug. 26, after the judge found that the statements were not privileged (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Elite Health Centers Inc., et al., No. 16cv13040, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144195).
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Aug. 19 sentenced a man to 46 months in prison and ordered him to pay more than $1 million in restitution after he pleaded guilty to paying kickbacks for prescriptions for durable medical equipment (DME) that were not medically necessary (United States v. Ayodeji T. Fatunmbi, et al., No. 13cr, C.D. Calif.).
MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge in Minnesota on Aug. 16 explained his ruling dismissing a man’s claim for breach of the implied warranty of good faith and fair dealing against his insurer, stating that he believes the state addressed the issue of unreasonable handling of claims in insurance contracts in its legislature and that a state appeals panel’s ruling recognizing the cause of action was not persuasive (Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina v. Amit Sela, No. 16-cv-4077, D. Minn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138666).
NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 19 vacated a federal judge in New York’s ruling requiring a man who pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and bank fraud to perform more than 300 hours of community service per year over the course of his supervised release, holding that the sentence did not comply with a policy statement issued by the Sentencing Commission (United States v. Nikos Parkins, No. 18-1019, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 24563).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 8 affirmed the allowance of expert testimony in a mortgage fraud case that resulted in a nearly $300 million judgment against a businessman and his companies after finding that the trial judge properly vetted the experts’ opinions and sufficiently explained his rationale for doing so (United States v. Jim C. Hodge, et al., No. 17-20720, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23715).
ATLANTA — A man pleaded guilty on Aug. 9 in Georgia federal court to one count of health care fraud for obtaining $300,000 from the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association (COPERA) by submitting false claims for reimbursement for prescription medications he did not receive or that were more expensive than the medications he was receiving (United States v. Michael Bang, No. 18cr433, N.D. Ga.).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Aug. 8 transferred to New Jersey federal court a lawsuit brought by the Government Employees Insurance Co. (GEICO) against a New Jersey-based ambulatory care center, its management company and three doctors over a fraudulent billing scheme for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, ruling that New Jersey is a more appropriate forum because the care center submitted the bills to the insurer (Government Employees Insurance Company v. Daniel J. Yoo, M.D., et al., No. 18-cv-5735, E.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134026).