$66 Million Dollar Settlement in Novartis Patient Kickback Lawsuit and Additional Wrongful Termination Action against LA Times

This week, the courts disclosed yet another massive multi-million dollar settlement that will undoubtedly discourage future similar kickback schemes while encouraging other whistleblowers to come forward. A former Novartis Pharmaceuticals sales manager blew the whistle on his company’s patient referral kickback scheme and was awarded handsomely after the company settled with the state and federal government for $390 million. This brings the total compensation to the whistleblower, David Kester, to $80 million when combined with the other related companies’ settlements in the False Claims Act (FCA) case.

Kester’s main allegations included that Novartis offered pharmacies performance rebates and discounts to push iron reduction drugs and transplant medication. As part of its settlement, Novartis also admitted that it threatened to sever ties with a pharmacy that wasn’t dispensing enough of its medications. It also admitted that it steered patients and bonus payments to those pharmacies that generated more refills, many of which were paid by Medicare and Medicaid. The government reimbursement was what allowed the FCA law suit to attach and inevitably the government prosecutors intervened. See these other examples of FCA settlements.

In a different case, a former cartoonist and writer sued the Los Angeles Times last week for wrongful termination and defamation after the newspaper challenged his integrity related to a story he posted on the newspaper’s website. In the story, the writer complained about a police altercation he was involved in around 2001. The Plaintiff, Ted Rall, is a distinguished, award winning writer who posted blogs on the site. This one in particular criticized the Los Angeles Police Department for petty crackdowns on jaywalking and abusing their authority. Thereafter, the newspaper reviewed the police department records and issued a notice to its readers doubting the veracity of Rall’s posting. Consequently, after the review was published, other news outlets described Rall as lacking integrity. Rall’s complaint seeks damages for lost wages due to his psychological and emotional distress, humiliation, and mental and physical pain and anguish. See these other blogs of related wrongful termination cases covered by our Los Angeles based Employment Law attorneys.

If you believe that you, or another employee, suffered an employment law matter related to false claims, employee rights, hostile work environment, or age/disability discrimination, prompt action to preserve your rights is crucial. Contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Stephen Danz & Associates for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances and legal options.