Planned Parenthood sued in fraudulent over billing of government

July 2, 2010 04:07


A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit has ruled in favor a former employee whistleblower in a multi-million dollar fraud case against Planned Parenthood affiliates in California.  A federal district court in California had dismissed the case, but the Ninth Circuit’s ruling reinstates the lawsuit.

ACLJ

A Big Win Against Planned Parenthood

I want to share with you a tremendous victory out of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California in a case of great importance.

In a unanimous decision issued today, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit has ruled in favor of our client in a multi-million dollar fraud case against Planned Parenthood (PP) affiliates in California. We represent a former employee of the PP affiliate in Los Angeles, who is now a federal whistleblower. A federal district court in California had dismissed the case, but the Ninth Circuit’s ruling reinstates the lawsuit.

This is a huge victory. While this case is by no means over, winning this appeal means we have gotten the federal claim over the threshold hurdles and can now get down to the heart of this case: the alleged fraud.

Our Senior Litigation Counsel Walter Weber did an exceptional job in presenting our case to the 9th Circuit.

The federal False Claims Act (FCA) forbids government contractors from submitting “false or fraudulent” claims for payment. The FCA also authorizes private individuals to bring suit against the offenders to recover the fraudulently obtained funds.

The allegation in this case is that PP affiliates in California illegally marked up the supposed cost of various birth control drugs when seeking government reimbursement, resulting in tens of millions of dollars of over-billing – at taxpayer expense. State audits in both California and Washington State have found PP affiliates guilty of over-billing.

When a former PP staffer sued the PP affiliates in federal court, charging the defendants with having fraudulently over-billed the state and federal governments in the amount of tens of millions of dollars, a prominent law firm began representing the PP defendants in the case at no cost to the defendants. PP attorneys asked the federal district court to dismiss the case on technical jurisdictional grounds.

The federal district court accepted their arguments in part, and dismissed the case. At that point, we entered the case to handle the appeal.

The question on appeal was whether the former PP employee is a proper whistle-blower under the False Claims Act. We contended that the answer is ‘Yes’ and now a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit has unanimously agreed with us.

Our opening brief dissected and refuted the arguments of PP’s attorneys point by point, explaining why the court of appeals should reverse the lower court’s judgment and reinstate the lawsuit. You can read the opening brief here. We subsequently filed a reply brief and two supplemental briefs addressing intervening developments in the law.

This is an important victory. But the legal fight is sure to continue. We will keep you posted on Planned Parenthood’s next move and a decision on whether they will appeal.



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