A former college dean who says she was blackballed after suing the now-scuttled Globe University may have a second career as a whistleblower advocate. Heidi Weber, who moved to the Twin Cities from South Dakota to become a Globe University dean only to be fired in 2011, was featured on the Aug. 31 episode of CBS-TV’s new series “Whistleblower.”
New television series shines light on real life whistleblowers—familiar territory for Halunen Law Qui Tam/Whistleblower attorneys
On July 13, CBS television launched a new 8-part series called Whistleblower. The show offers an in-depth look at the remarkable courage and resolve of several whistleblowers, and the difficult paths they take that lead to justice.
Halunen Law attorneys are in the daily fight to prosecute cases brought by whistleblowers to challenge unlawful corporate conduct. We know the toll these cases can take on those courageous enough to challenge unethical practices and we do everything we can to alleviate that burden.
We’re pleased to see such a bright, national spotlight put on these heroes, and the opportunity it brings to educate a broader audience about the profound changes these cases can bring and the types of fraud that still occur. We encourage you to tune-in on Friday nights and follow the series. (Check your local listings for time).
Episode One: “Blow the Whistle, Change the World”
Two dentists were alarmed by the unsafe and fraudulent practices they observed as standard practice at a pediatric dental chain that provides services in underserved communities. They challenged those practices that they feared would lead to overtreatment, overbilling and putting children at risk. The episode also features a whistleblower who took on pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb accusing the company of using illicit bribes, expensive vacations and sumptuous dinners to gain illegal access to patient medical records and influence doctors to prescribe the company’s high-priced meds. Watch the full episode
Episode Two: “The Deadly Cancer Doctor & the Ugly Side of the Beauty Business”
What could be worse than being diagnosed and treated for cancer? Later finding out that your doctor lied and you never had it to begin with. An office manager at a cancer center blew the whistle on the oncologist running the practice when he discovered the doctor was giving chemotherapy to more than 500 patients who do not need it. The scope of what the whistleblower discovered was staggering. This episode also features the story of courageous whistleblowers who challenged the unethical practices of Marinello Schools of Beauty after uncovering fraud against its students. Watch the full episode
Episode Three: “The Case Against Northrop”
James Holzrichter thought he had landed his dream job working at Northrop, one of the top military contractors in the world. But, once he moved from testing equipment to “product assurance,” that is, ensuring that the company was properly billing the government for parts, he began to notice some disturbing trends. Taking nearly two decades to be resolved this case is the featured story for the full episode. Watch the full episode
Episode Four: “The Case Against the Cardiologists and the Case Against Wells Fargo”
In this episode Host Alex Ferrer investigates the case against cardiologists engaging in unethical, potentially life-threatening practices. The first segment features Dr. Michael Jones, a successful cardiologist in Lexington, Ky., who noticed a troubling pattern in the patients showing up in his office. They were all from the same part of rural Kentucky, and each of them seemed to have had expensive heart procedures he believed they didn’t need. The second segment features courageous whistleblower Jessie Guitron who sounded the early alarms in what subsequently became a huge banking scandal for Wells Fargo amid allegations that bank employees were encouraged to open credit card accounts for customers without their knowledge, leading to even larger, systemic fraud. Watch the full episode
Episode Five: “The Case Against Los Alamos”
Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb and home to some of the country’s most dangerous secrets had some troubling security issues. Following a series of embarrassing security lapses and thefts, former police chiefs Glenn Walp and Steve Doran were brought in to review and bolster security at the facility in 2002. But almost immediately, it was clear that things were far worse than they had thought. Watch the full episode
Episode Six: “The Case Against eClinicalWorks; the Case Against Chartwells”
Thanks to electronic medical records, millions of Americans now expect their doctors to have the right information about their care at their fingertips. But could faulty digital medical records cost lives? Host Alex Ferrer investigates the case of medical charting software gone wrong. In the second part of this episode, New York Chef Jeffrey Mills, became executive director of the Office of Food and Nutritional Services for DC Public Schools (DCPS) and discovered an entrenched system of spoiled, and wasted food served across the school sytem. His whistleblower actions resulted in a $19.4 million settlement against the food service provider. Watch the full episode
Episode Seven: “The Case Against Second Chance Body Armor”
What would you do if you had dedicated your career to protecting those who protect us, only to discover the company that once saved your life may be putting others at risk? Dr. Aaron Westrick was the research director for America’s largest body armor company – Second Chance Body Armor – and was the first official to oppose the sale of bulletproof vests made with Zylon fiber. Based on his disclosures, these defective vests were forced off the market and police officer’s lives were saved. Dr. Westrick’s story is featured in this hour-long episode. Watch the full episode
MINNEAPOLIS, MN — (August 1, 2018) Halunen Law is pleased to announce attorney Amy Boyle was recently made a Partner at the firm. Boyle has been with Halunen Law since October 2015 and works with the employment and class action practice groups. Her reputation as a first-rate litigator and staunch defender of plaintiffs’ rights, has garnered much praise and recognition by colleagues and clients alike.
“Amy’s personal approach, robust litigation experience, and deft ability to navigate difficult, prolonged cases has made her an exceptional member of our team,” said Clayton Halunen, founder and managing partner of Halunen Law. “I’m incredibly proud of the work she does and pleased to acknowledge her contributions by making her a Partner at the firm,” added Halunen.
A Cum Laude graduate of University of St. Thomas School of Law, Boyle received the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Law Student Award for Excellence in Employment Law. She holds bar admissions in Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin. Boyle is a member of the Warren E. Burger Inn of Court, a by-invitation organization of attorneys and judges dedicated to promoting excellence in legal advocacy. She is also a Board Member for the Federal Bar Association’s Younger Lawyers Division and Alternative Dispute Resolution Section and is an active member of Minnesota Women Lawyers.
Boyle grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin and graduated from Milton High School. She received her B.A. from the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota with a focus on Legal Studies in Business and International Business—Spanish.
About Halunen Law
With offices in Minneapolis and Chicago, Halunen Law offers experienced legal representation to employees, consumers and whistleblowers in individual and class actions. Halunen also offers experienced representation to employees and whistleblowers under the False Claims Act and other statutes. Halunen Law has achieved a reputation as a fearless, tenacious and successful plaintiffs’ law firm, with a laser focus on achieving justice for its clients as well as meaningful social change. For information on the firm visit www.halunenlaw.com.
Becoming a whistleblower is a process that is not invited or welcome.
It confronts individuals with a reality they cannot ignore
and calls them to take a stand in a place they would not choose.
But for their sense of integrity,
whistleblowers would prefer to remain among those who are silent.
What makes whistleblowers take that stand?
What separates them from those who are silent?
Courage and a compelling need to do what is right.
It is that simple.
On this day we specially honor the whistleblowers in our midst.
We salute you.
We learn from you.
We are challenged by your courage.
And we pledge to speak out rather than remain silent.
You are not alone in your journey
Recognizing the Whistleblowers Who Have Impacted Society
On this National Whistleblower Day, Halunen Law expresses its admiration of the whistleblowers who have allowed us to work with them as they make companies accountable for their wrongdoing. In particular, we remember David McIntosh who passed away this year. Dave challenged a company that provided nonconforming materials for vehicles used in combat. He made a difference, as has every other whistleblower we honor this day. Thank you.
Featured image: Erce/Shutterstock
Several months ago the New York Times published an article on why the #MeToo phenomenon has become one of the most important movements in the employment law arena.1 Journalist Susan Chira explained the results of a national online survey reporting that an astounding 81% of women and 43% of men had experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault in their lifetimes—including at home, and in their community or workplace. No other survey had reported numbers so high, suggesting that this type of conduct has been under-reported for years. In another survey conducted by the CDC, researchers noted that nearly 1 in 10 respondents reported being sexually harassed in the workplace within the past 12 months—though women, multi-racial individuals and divorced or separated individuals were significantly more likely to say they’d experienced such discrimination.2
Remember Trump’s now infamous boasts about his treatment of women that was caught on tape? The tape’s release prompted more than a dozen women to come forward with claims that Trump had sexually assaulted them. In the wake of those claims and recent sexual assault allegations against prominent news media and entertainment figures such as Harvey Weinstein, Charlie rose, Kevin Spacey, and Louis CK, the outrage of this conduct has resulted in people feeling comfortable for the first time to both tell their stories and take action against their perpetrators.
Let’s face it—over the past two years, our world has changed. We’ve had a wakeup call that it is no longer acceptable for people to use their positions of power for sexual gratification and intimidation. Instead, people who were once able to get away with doing whatever they wanted to whomever they wanted are being held accountable through public shaming and civil lawsuits.
Hopefully, the #MeToo phenomenon will alleviate and ultimately eliminate the trail of harm left by the harassers—harm that is finally being seen and addressed. In an NBC News story3, Dr. Colleen Cullen, a licensed clinical psychologist, identified the most common diagnoses of victims of sexual harassment as depression, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“An experience [with sexual harassment] can either trigger symptoms of depression and anxiety that are new to the person; or it can exacerbate a previous condition that may have been controlled or resolved. Patients may also see a worsening of symptoms,” says Dr. Cullen. “Some research has found that sexual harassment early in one’s career in particular can [cause] long-term depressive symptoms.”
The story goes on to note that someone going through or dealing with the aftermath of sexual harassment may also exhibit symptoms of PTSD, especially if the harassment led to violence or assault.
“Among women who experience a sexual assault, 90 percent who experience sexual violence in the immediate aftermath exhibit symptoms of acute stress,” says Dr. Helen Wilson, a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise on the effects of trauma. “For many people, these symptoms dissipate over time through social support and coping strategies, and many people totally recover and move on; others will be so distressed that it really interferes with their work and life. It takes a certain number of symptoms to diagnose, but that’s when it can become PTSD.”
Looking at the workplace in particular, no employee should be required to tolerate any form of sexual harassment while working. Most often the only effective way to stop such behavior is to make a report to the employer. Once this occurs, the employer is required by law to take appropriate remedial action. However, some times more immediate and direct action MUST be taken—as in the case of sexual assault or rape, when the employer instigates the harassment, or if there is no internal process for recourse. In these circumstances it is crucial to retain an experienced sexual harassment law firm that can use its experience to demand the kind of resolution desired; whether it’s ensuring that an employee is safe from further harassment, negotiating a separation package, or creating meaningful change in how an employer does business, including implementing sexual harassment training and establishing effective non-discrimination/harassment policies.
Halunen Law is a pioneer in the area of sexual harassment litigation. For 20 years we have fought for the rights of both men and women who were subjected to unwelcome sexual comments and behavior, including sexual assaults and rape. We are extremely successful in obtaining substantial recoveries for our clients as well as effectuating organizational change and accountability to assure similar conduct never happens again. If you have experienced any form of sexual harassment in your workplace, call us—we can help.
Clayton Halunen is founder and managing partner of Halunen Law. Under his leadership, Halunen Law has achieved a reputation as a fearless, tenacious and successful plaintiffs’ law firm, with a laser focus on achieving justice for its clients as well as meaningful social change. Clayton has successfully tried to verdict discrimination, harassment and whistleblower cases and obtained millions of dollars for his clients.
1 Numbers Hint at Why #MeToo Took Off: The Sheer number Who Can Say Me Too, New York Times February 21, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/21/upshot/pervasive-sexual-harassment-why-me-too-took-off-poll.html
2 Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey 2010, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, January 2012 https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_252.pdf
3 The Hidden Health Effects of Sexual Harassment, NBC News, October 13, 2017. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/hidden-health-effects-sexual-harassment-ncna810416
On July 11, 2018, Halunen Law’s Blaine Balow was admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Halunen Law employment attorney and colleague Emma Denny made the motion for admission at the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis. The Honorable Ann D. Montgomery granted the motion and Blaine was then admitted into practice in federal court. As an employment attorney, Blaine represents clients in matters of discrimination, civil rights, sexual harassment, or are whistleblowers. Congratulations Blaine!
Strong legal advocacy can have a ripple effect in achieving systemic change. This article recounts the expanded impact of a letter Clayton Halunen wrote on behalf of a whistleblower client. Read the article.
Immigration has long been a contentious subject, and we now see media reports nearly every day telling us that the United States has an immigration “problem.” Indeed we do, but it is one that most people never hear about; specifically the physical and sexual harassment, abuse, assaults and rapes perpetrated against the women, men, and even children who are confined to immigration detention centers located across the county.
Data collected by a non-profit advocacy group, Freedom for Immigrants (formerly Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement or CIVIC), and provided to officials at Immigrations and Customs (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), confirms that the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received at least 1,016 reports of sexual abuse filed by detainees between May 2014 and July 2016- equating to about one complaint of sexual abuse per day.1 In April 2017, CIVIC filed a civil rights complaint with the federal government noting that the abuse and assaults reportedly occur at all points of interaction with detained immigrants, including: during routine searches, medical examinations, and transport to and from the facility and/or hearings.
Of the 1,016 complaints, the OIG investigated only 24 (or 2.4% of the total).2
Even after the CIVIC complaint was filed in April 2017, the federal government has done nothing to stop these abuses. The reason for the inaction is not entirely clear, but is likely due in large part to the fact that immigrant detention is a business that is being underwritten in large part by the government, which has contracted with private prison companies to provide detention services, and which has passed laws to guarantee maintenance of a minimum number of beds as well as refused to pass legislation mandating the inclusion of private prisons in the federal tax disclosure system.3 As a result, private prison corporations have become enormously profitable. Indeed, Forbes reported that in 2015 GEO Group, Inc. and Corrections Corporation of America, the two largest private prison corporations in the country, realized revenues of $1.84 billion and $1.79 billion respectively.4
Shockingly, not only has the federal government taken no action to remedy these human rights violations, but the Trump administration’s actions to imprison immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. has increased the number of detainees, leading to conditions conducive to further victimization of immigrant detainees. THIS IS THE “PROBLEM” THAT MUST STOP.
Halunen Law is a national law firm committed to protecting the rights of immigrant detainees who have been subjected physical or sexual harassment, abuse or assault, or who have been denied necessary medical care while being held in a federal or private detention centers. Our lawyers will fight for your rights and seek accountability from those who are responsible for this horrific conduct. If you have suffered from, or know someone who has suffered from, sexual assault or rape or denied necessary medical care, call us for a free consultation or fill out our INTAKE FORM and submit it for a free evaluation.
ACT TODAY—the law limits the time available to bring claims against bad actors.
1 CIVIC Press Release, Sexual Assault in Immigration Detention (April 11, 2017). (http://www.endisolation.org/sexual-assault-in-immigration-detention/)
3 Costly, Inefficient and Unaccountable: The Case for Outlawing For-Profit Prisons, Forbes (Sept. 19, 2016). https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2016/09/19/the-case-for-outlawing-for-profit-prisons/#3c789d061dad
Minneapolis, MN: For the 15th consecutive year, Halunen Law founder and managing partner, Clayton Halunen was selected to the Minnesota Super Lawyers list. Halunen Law partner, and chair of the False Claims Act/Whistleblower practice group, Susan Coler was selected for the 10th consecutive year, while employment attorney Barbara Felt was included for the 5th year in a row. Partner and Consumer Class Action attorney Christopher Moreland was newly selected to the Super Lawyers list. Returning to the Rising Stars list was Consumer Class Action chair and equity partner, Melissa Weiner, partner and employment attorney Ross Stadheim, employment attorney Emma Denny, and consumer class action attorney Charles Moore. The Super Lawyers list represents just 5% of Minnesota attorneys, and the Rising Stars list recognizes only 2.5% of attorneys 40 years old or younger or in practice for ten years or less.
“I am honored to be included in this important list once again, and pleased so many Halunen Law attorneys were recognized this year,” said Clayton Halunen. “It is extremely gratifying to see our work consistently acknowledged by our peers. I’m proud of our team’s tremendous track record, expertise, and dedication in pursuit of justice on behalf of the courageous whistleblowers, employees, and consumers they represent.”
HALUNEN LAW 2018 SUPER LAWYERS:
Clayton D. Halunen, Founding Partner
Susan M. Coler, Partner
Barbara J. Felt, Partner
Christopher J. Moreland, Partner
HALUNEN LAW 2018 RISING STARS:
Melissa Weiner, Partner
Emma R. Denny, Associate
Charles D. Moore, Associate
Ross D. Stadheim, Partner
ABOUT HALUNEN LAW: Halunen Law offers expertise in litigating employment cases on behalf of individual employees, consumer class actions and whistleblower cases under the False Claims Act and other statutes. With offices in Minneapolis and Chicago, Halunen Law has achieved a reputation as a fearless, tenacious and successful plaintiffs’ law firm, with a laser focus on achieving justice for its clients while creating meaningful social change.
Beginning in 2005, Allegiance entered into agreements with hospitals located in Southeastern United States to provide Intensive Outpatient Psychotherapy services to patients who were Medicare beneficiaries on the hospitals’ behalf. The settlement resolves allegations that many patients were provided services that did not qualify for Medicare reimbursement but were billed as such.
“The Department of Justice recognizes the value of accessible mental health care, but will not tolerate companies that seek to exploit our most vulnerable populations by delivering inappropriate or worthless services,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad D. Readler for the Civil Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to holding accountable those who waste taxpayer dollars and place profit about the legitimate needs of patients.”
Read the full article from the United States Department of Justice.
Halunen Law is a national leader in challenging fraud against the government. Our attorneys have recovered millions of taxpayer dollars, brought financial rewards to courageous whistleblowers, and ended corrupt business practices. If you’re aware of unlawful workplace activity, contact us to discuss your concerns.
A former college dean who says she was blackballed after suing the now-scuttled Globe University may have a s...
New television series shines light on real life whistleblowers—familiar territory for Halunen Law Qui Tam/W...
MINNEAPOLIS, MN — (August 1, 2018) Halunen Law is pleased to announce attorney Amy Boyle was recently made ...
Becoming a whistleblower is a process that is not invited or welcome.\r\nIt confronts individuals with a reality...
Several months ago the New York Times published an article on why the #MeToo phenomenon has become one of the...
On July 11, 2018, Halunen Law’s Blaine Balow was admitted to practice in the United States District Court fo...
Strong legal advocacy can have a ripple effect in achieving systemic change. This article recounts the expande...
Immigration has long been a contentious subject, and we now see media reports nearly every day telling us tha...
Minneapolis, MN: For the 15th consecutive year, Halunen Law founder and managing partner, Clayton Halunen was...
Beginning in 2005, Allegiance entered into agreements with hospitals located in Southeastern United States to...
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