Archive for September, 2016

Can Government Employees be Whistleblowers under the False Claims Act?

government employee whistleblowers

government employee whistleblowersMembers of government agencies often ask us whether their employment by the government impacts whether they can serve as a whistleblower in a qui tam case under the False Claims Act (“FCA”)? Read More…

 

James Hoyer Partner Interviewed about Mandatory Arbitration Pitfalls for Consumers

Jesse Pic3- ABC Arbitration storyJames Hoyer Partner Jesse Hoyer is a strong advocate for consumers and taxpayers. She’s seen how mandatory arbitration agreements can hurt consumers and shared her concerns with ABC Action News I-team reporter Adam Walser.

Walser recently took an eye-opening look into the arbitration clauses that many home builders put into their agreements with homeowners. He profiled two families dealing with significant structural issues in their new homes.  They’ve been unable to get the companies to fix the problems properly and provide them relief, in part because of mandatory arbitration agreements.

Attorney Jesse Hoyer explained in the story that arbitration agreements are often lop-sided giving businesses the edge over consumers.

“Corporations can wait them out, they can bleed them financially. They can draw everything out over time,” said Hoyer.

That’s exactly what happened to the families in ABC’s report. Both are struggling to find a resolution with companies that built their homes.

Click here to watch the report and learn more about this story from ABC Action News.

Hoyer says, because these clauses most often favor corporations, avoid them if you can. Unfortunately, consumers are often stuck, because companies make these clauses a take-it or leave-it proposition, knowing they will have the upper hand.  If you want the service provided, whether it’s a home builder, doctor’s visit, or employment agreement, often times you must sign. If you feel you have no choice, ask lots of questions and understand what you’re getting into.  Try to at least make sure you retain your right to pursue a lawsuit, if the dispute cannot be resolved by arbitration.

 

James Hoyer Partner Interviewed about For-Profit ITT Tech’s Closing

Jesse-ITT pic1
James Hoyer partner Jesse Hoyer provided insight on the closing of for-profit college ITT Tech, during an interview with ABC Action News in Tampa.  Hoyer has extensive experience investigating and bringing suit against for-profit colleges for questionable practices.

ITT suddenly closed its doors Tuesday impacting 35,000 students and 8,000 employees. The school blamed the shutdown on recent action by the U.S. Education Department to ban ITT from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid, but Hoyer pointed out the DOE did so with good reason.

“It’s not the government that shut them down. They shut themselves down. If they were offering a viable, legitimate business, they would be able to get financial funding from other sources.” Hoyer explained.

ITT, like many for-profit colleges, depends heavily on taxpayer funding for students.  In fact, some 80-percent of ITT’s tuition was paid through federal financial aid dollars.  With that money source cut off, the school anticipated that it could no longer attract students to pay for its courses.

ITT was being investigated for several problems prior to the closing. In August, a group that accredits ITT found that the chain failed to meet several basic standards and was unlikely to comply in the future.

ITT’s closure comes after Corinthian Colleges Inc. shut the doors of its schools and filed for bankruptcy last year. The Education Department agreed to forgive $171 million in loans owed by former students, most of them in California.

Click on the video above to see the ITT Tech closing story by ABC Action News.

 

SEC Whistleblower Award Of $22 Million Goes To Monsanto Insider

SEC Whistleblower Award

SEC Whistleblower AwardThis week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that it issued an SEC whistleblower award of $22 million to an anonymous company insider who provided key information that resulted in Monsanto Company, a St. Louis-based agribusiness, agreeing to pay an $80 million penalty and retain an independent compliance consultant to settle charges that it violated accounting rules and misstated company earnings as they pertained to its flagship product Roundup, a popular weed-killer.  Read More…