A $12 million settlement was reached in a False Claims Act case alleging kickbacks to physicians for using Sightpath Medical Products in eye surgeries. The relator, Kipp Fesenmaier, was vice president of the company and reported that kickbacks were being offered to physicians to bribe them to use Sightpath Medical products. These kickbacks came in the form of sham consulting agreements and free entertainment – including hunting, fishing, and skiing trips. Halunen Law was proud to work with lead counsel from Morgan Verkamp LLC in this case. Susan Coler, head of Halunen Law’s Whistleblower/Qui Tam practice group, stated, “It’s great to see a result like this, where an employee’s report of illegal conduct caused significant corporate change and helped protect the integrity of medical decision making.
A unanimous decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court on August 9th did away with 15 years of case law and significantly expands protections for employees who report illegal conduct. In Friedlander v. Edwards Lifesciences, LLC, et al., the Minnesota Supreme Court decision held that a 2013 amendment to the Minnesota Whistleblower Act changed the definition of “good faith” to eliminate consideration of employees’ motivations in making reports. Since the amendment, what constitutes “good faith” requires only that the employee’s report is neither reckless nor knowingly false. This is a major victory for employees and the rule of law in Minnesota according to Halunen Law, Nichols Kaster, and Apollo Law—the three law firms representing the plaintiff, James Friedlander.
Distinguished leadership group is composed largely of litigators from across the country who serve the public interest through innovative and diverse practices. Read more:
As chair of the complex litigation and class action practice at Halunen Law in Minneapolis, Wolchansky specializes in false advertising and consumer protection and has found a particular niche challenging companies that call their products “natural” when the reality is the opposite. She’s won settlements in class action cases against large corporations that make products such as cleaning supplies, sweeteners, and laundry detergent.
Has a potential client come to you who is talking about fraud involving a contract or program that receives government funding? That person just might have a strong suit for filling a qui tam case. To give you an idea of what we are talking about consider just a few of the following examples of frauds that have been uncovered; keep in mind that the list goes on and on.
- Billing for goods and services that never existed
- Upcoding either for false illnesses or treatments or for employee work by charging higher doctors rates
- Defective testing saying something passed a test when it failed
- Failure to report known product defects while still billing the government for the product
The False Claims Act is an important federal law that combats fraud against the Government, but many people have never heard of it. This vital act allows individuals with evidence of fraud to sue companies on behalf of the government for damages.
Lists includes two new honorees to Rising Stars list, others continue consecutive years of valued recognition
Minneapolis, MN: Halunen Law is pleased to announce attorneys Clayton Halunen, Susan Coler, and Barbara Felt were selected to the recently released 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list. This significant recognition is granted to just 5% of Minnesota attorneys each year. Additionally, Halunen’s newest attorney Emma Denny was selected to the 2017 Rising Stars list, along with Charles Moore, Kaarin Nelson Schaffer, Ross Stadheim, and Melissa Weiner Wolchansky; representing just 2.5% of attorneys 40 years of age or younger. Denny and Moore are new to the list, while the other Halunen attorneys have appeared on their respective lists for consecutive years including Clayton Halunen, who has received this prestigious recognition for 14 years in a row.
Halunen Law Partner Melissa Wolchansky was extensively quoted in the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper for her role in a recent court argument asserting that a multi-district class action against Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company should be allowed to proceed. Wolchansky, co-lead counsel in the case, argued to the Judge that the cigarette packaging, using language such as “organic,” “natural” and “additive free,” was meant to distract consumers from the dangers of tobacco.
Employment: Protecting Your Status
“Many people assume that because their employment is at-will, they have no recourse to take action against a wrongful termination,” says Clayton Halunen, founder and managing partner at Halunen Law. But certain statuses—including age, sex, religion, and sexual orientation—are protected under both state and federal law. If you question the legitimacy of your termination or your employer’s conduct, here are some guidelines to follow.
With all of the news surrounding the fate of the Affordable Care Act lately, you may have missed that the government intervened in two lawsuits alleging fraud against the country’s largest health insurance company, Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group. Since the beginning of this year, the Department of Justice joined two separate False Claims Act cases against UnitedHealth. Both qui tam lawsuits (the Latin phrase commonly used for False Claims Act cases brought by a whistleblower) allege that UnitedHealth fraudulently inflated its Medicare Advantage risk adjustment scores.
So, what is the Medicare Advantage program? What are risk adjustment scores? And how can a major health insurance company, like UnitedHealth, defraud the government? The answers to each of these questions can be found in this post.
May 24, 2017
Contact: Jessica Thomas 612-278-6318
Subject: Clayton D. Halunen Recertified as Labor and Employment Law Specialist
The Minnesota State Bar Association announces the recertification of Clayton D. Halunen, Halunen Law, as a MSBA Board Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist. This Certification program is administered by the MSBA and approved by the State Board of Legal Certification.
The certified specialist designation is earned by leading attorneys who have completed a rigorous approval process, including an examination in the specialty area, peer review, and documented experience. Certified attorneys have demonstrated superior knowledge, skill and integrity in their specific field and can use the designation of specialist to advertise their credentials. The MSBA has been accredited as an independent professional organization for certifying attorneys as Criminal Law Specialists, Real Property Law Specialists, Civil Trial Law Specialists and Labor and Employment Law Specialists. This achievement has been earned by fewer than 3% of all licensed Minnesota attorneys. More information about Certified Legal Specialists is at http://www.mnbar.org/members/certification.
A $12 million settlement was reached in a False Claims Act case alleging kickbacks to physicians for using Si...
\r\n\r\nA unanimous decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court on August 9th did away with 15 years of case law and s...
Distinguished leadership group is composed largely of litigators from across the country who serve the public ...
\r\n\r\n As chair of the complex litigation and class action practice at Halunen Law in Minneapolis, Wolchansky sp...
In its 2016 Annual Review of Corporate Fraud and Corruption, Financier Worldwide magazine reported that, ever...
Halunen Law Partner Melissa Wolchansky was extensively quoted in the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper for her ro...
Employment: Protecting Your Status\r\n\r\n\"Many people assume that because their employment is at-will, they have ...
Halunen Law attorneys Benjamin Kwan and Amy Boyle participated in the Federal Bar Association Young Lawyers Di...
President Abraham Lincoln enacted the False Claims Act during the Civil War when bullets were filled with sawd...
MINNEAPOLIS – (April 3, 2017) Halunen Law has named Melissa Wolchansky as an equity partner in the Minneapol...
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