Posts Tagged ‘whistleblowers’

Lucrative world of IRS informant bounties

It’s attractive enough to have lured private equity money:

Three years ago, the I.R.S. began offering bigger rewards — 15 percent to 30 percent of whatever money the government recovered — in a move that has turbocharged the agency’s whistle-blower program. …

Among the lawyers, hedge funds and investors who may provide the financing for class-action lawsuits and whistle-blower cases against government contractors, the reinvigorated I.R.S. program has attracted attention.

[N.Y. Times]

Texas prosecutor charges nurses for reporting doctor

Two Winkler County nurses filed accusations of problematic practices against Doctor Rolando G. Arafiles Jr. before the Texas Medical Board in April; a prosecutor who was friends with the doctor has now charged the two with a felony, “misuse of official information.” Local and national nursing associations have protested and established a legal defense fund. (Kevin Sack, “Nurse to Stand Trial for Reporting Doctor”, New York Times, Feb. 6; KFDA (undated)). It’s possible that the nurses made false accusations maliciously, but that seems something that could be handled through civil suits and then only after the Texas Medical Board adjudicated the complaints. Such overreaching by doctors could backfire, as it would give credence to the proposition that medical malpractice lawsuits are a necessary check to incompetent doctors.

January 20 roundup

  • Renewed attention to Amirault case contributed to Coakley’s political nosedive [e.g., Jacob Weisberg of Slate via Kaus, earlier] First time a Massachusetts prosecutor has paid a political price over that episode?
  • Many, many Democratic elected officials call for rethinking/renegotiating Obamacare rather than trying to force it through [e.g. Barney Frank] Blue Mass blogger: talk radio fueled ire at Coakley, let’s have FCC shut it down [Graham]
  • “Big Brother and the Salt Shaker” [NY Times “Room for Debate”, Food Liability Law, earlier on NYC initiative and more] NYU’s Marion Nestle “loves” being called a nanny statist, so we’ll just go right on calling her that [Crispy on the Outside]
  • Terror suspects win right to seek compensation from UK government over restrictions on their activities [Canadian Press]
  • “Men Without Hats. Meaning no hard hats. Meaning The Safety Dance never met OSHA requirements. No wonder it was shut down.” [Tim Siedell a/k/a Bad Banana]
  • Italian judge orders father to go on paying $550/month living allowance to his student daughter, who is 32 [Guardian/SMH, earlier on laws mandating support of adult children]
  • Two informants vie for potential bonanza of whistleblower status against Johnson & Johnson [Frankel, AmLaw Litigation Daily]
  • “Polling Firm Says John Edwards Is Its Most Unpopular Person Ever” [Lowering the Bar]

November 2 roundup

  • Worst, most dangerous legal trend of the moment: trial lawyers continue big Capitol Hill push to overturn Supreme Court’s valuable Iqbal and Twombly decisions on lawsuit procedure [Point of Law and more, Thomas Dupree/WLF, Beck & Herrmann and more, earlier]
  • Lawyers rush to courthouse to beat deadline for new Oklahoma limits on liability suits [Tulsa World]
  • Spokesman for Attorney General Jerry Brown admits he’s taped reporter conversations without their consent, seeming violation of California law [SF Chronicle]
  • UK: motorist could face prosecution for splashing kids by driving through puddle, at what she says was kids’ request [BoingBoing]
  • “Is the pay czar unconstitutional?” [Bainbridge on McConnell, WSJ; Ribstein on link to PCAOB case]
  • More “deceptively named fruity cereal” suits in California [Lowering the Bar (“I still think this is like claiming emotional distress because you just learned ‘The Hobbit’ isn’t a true story,”) Ken at Popehat (“Froot of the Poisonous Tree of Litigiousness”), earlier here, here, here, here, etc.]
  • A city of stool pigeons: Chicago to pay those who inform on tax cheats [NBC Chicago]
  • Ill-fated stint as pole dancer leads to lawsuit against Arizona bar [Above the Law]

New at Point of Law

If you’re not reading my other legal site, Point of Law, here’s some of what you’re missing:

CPSIA employee whistleblower provisions

As if all the other problems with the law were not bad enough, Common Room notes that its provisions conferring new legal protections on disgruntled employees take us another step closer to being “a nation of informants”. Whistleblower provisions are frequently used as a weapon in hardball employment litigation, where “find something to blow the whistle about and they won’t lay a hand on you” is, unfortunately, often sound legal advice for an employee who’s at odds with the boss for other reasons. Maybe the stakes are so high in, say, an area like defense contracting, or where safety violations endanger actual lives, that it’s worth the high cost of some such rules. But for paperwork violations at makers of cardboard puzzles and baby hats?

(GRAPHIC: Zesmeralda at Flickr, some rights reserved, Creative Commons).

Annals of public employee tenure, cont’d

Assume a false identity and file a bogus misconduct complaint that gets your boss fired. Claim whistleblower protection and transfer to a nice job in another department. When the imposture is discovered, the state won’t be able to do more than slap your wrist. That’s been the happy experience of a lawyer with Connecticut’s state ethics bureau (!) in a case provoking considerable, though apparently futile, outrage in the Nutmeg State. (Point of Law, Nov. 25; Dan Schwartz, Nov. 17).

October 9 roundup

  • Appeals court upholds Ted Roberts “sextortion” conviction [Bashman with lots of links, San Antonio Express-News]
  • Alito incredulous at FTC: you guys have failed to raise a peep about bogus tar & nicotine numbers for how long? [PoL]
  • Please, Mr. Pandit, do the country a favor and don’t litigate Citigroup’s rights to the utmost in the Wachovia-Wells Fargo affair [Jenkins, WSJ]
  • Docblogger Westby Fisher, hit with expensive subpoena over contents of his comments section, wonders whether it’s worth it to go on blogging [Dr. Wes, earlier]
  • “Title IX and Athletics: A Primer”, critical study for Independent Women’s Forum [Kasic/Schuld, PDF; my two cents]
  • Case of whale-bothering Navy sonar, often covered in this space, argued before high court []
  • More on Kentucky’s efforts to seize Internet domain names of online gambling providers [WaPo, earlier]
  • Exposure to pigeon droppings at Iraq ammo warehouse doesn’t seem to have affected worker’s health, but it was disgusting and she’s filed a False Claims Act lawsuit against private contractor for big bucks [St. Petersburg Times, Patricia Howard, USA Environmental; but see comment taking issue]

“Senate CPSC Bill: A Boon for Trial Lawyers at the Expense of Product Safety”

Andrew M. Grossman and James L. Gattuso analyze the CPSC Reform Act, S. 2663 (the update to S. 2045). We discussed Feb. 20 and Feb. 25, as well as briefly Jan. 1. Update: After the jump, Senator DeMint’s office provides the “Top Ten Reasons to Oppose the CPSC “Reform” Act (S. 2663)”

Read On…