Posts Tagged ‘James Hoyer’

Endo Pharma Faces Suit for Opioid False Claims

TN Attorney General sues opioid maker Endo Pharmaceuticals (photo courtesy Times News)

Endo Pharmaceuticals, the same company which was at the center of a $193 million settlement with one of James Hoyer’s whistleblower clients, is now facing another major legal battle. The Tennessee Attorney General is suing Endo for making unlawful and false claims about the safety and benefits of its opioid products.

The AG’s office says Endo violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and contributed to a devastating health crisis in Tennessee. Here are details from the news release by Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s office:

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III today sued Endo Pharmaceuticals and Endo Health Solutions Inc. (Endo) for making unlawful and false claims about the safety and benefits of its opioid products.

The State’s lawsuit, filed in Knoxville, alleges Endo violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and contributed to a devastating public health crisis in Tennessee.

“Our Office has conducted an extensive investigation into Endo’s unlawful marketing practices which included targeting vulnerable populations like the elderly,” said Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III. “Endo has repeatedly refused to take responsibility for its unconscionable conduct, which is why we are taking this action.”

The allegations in the State’s 180-page complaint detail how Endo deceptively marketed its opioid products as being less addictive and more effective than others on the market. It did this despite evidence to the contrary, including the FDA’s explicit rejection of Endo’s claim that Opana ER was resistant to abuse as well as overwhelming evidence that Opana ER was being abused throughout Tennessee.

The Complaint alleges that Endo also knew the dangers of its opioid products, including increased risks of respiratory depression and death in elderly patients, and failed to clearly disclose those risks while it specifically targeted patients in that age group.

The State also has reason to believe Endo used the recommendations and educational materials of third-party groups like the American Pain Foundation without disclosing that Endo was by far the biggest donor to the Foundation and provided more than half of its total funding. Endo provided significant funding to other third-party groups and subsequently relied on material generated by those groups without disclosing the financial relationship.

The Attorney General requested the complaint be filed under a temporary seal because Endo claims the information produced during the State’s investigation is confidential. The order sealed by the judge allows the seal to expire in 10 days unless Endo acts to extend it.

The Attorney General believes the complaint should be made available to the public in its entirety and efforts to keep it confidential will only prolong and diminish Endo’s accountability for its conduct.

 

Mastermind in $24 Million Ed4Mil Military Tuition Scam Sentenced

The mastermind of a $24 million scheme to take advantage of veterans and active duty military will spend 5 years in jail after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  Ed4Mil President David Alvey was criminally charged after a whistleblower suit filed by  James Hoyer client Adam Boyce.

Alvey conspired with former Assistant Dean of Caldwell College Lisa DiBisceglie and former Ed4Mil employee Helen Sechrist to trick members of the military into signing up for wildly overpriced online classes that were misrepresented as Caldwell classes. In reality, they were cheap certificate courses offered by an unaccredited school. DiBisceglie and Sechrist also plead guilty.  Click here to read more about Alvey’s sentencing.

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Whistleblower & James Hoyer client Adam Boyce

Boyce first came forward to the government after concerns that Army National Guard members were being subjected to a bait and switch for online certificate courses, that were marked up in cost by 6-times and more when sold to military personnel.

 

Boyce was marketing director for a middleman company called Ed4Mil which recruited soldiers to take the online classes. National Guard members were told the classes were offered by a private school in New Jersey, just outside of  New York City, called Caldwell College, but they were actually provided by another online school called Penn Foster. CBS News reported on the whistleblower complaint when Boyce’s False Claims Act suit was unsealed in 2014.

 

James Hoyer Partner Interviewed about Miami Whistleblower Ruling

Sean P. Keefe - James Hoyer Partner

Sean P. Keefe – James Hoyer Partner

James Hoyer Partner Sean Keefe, an expert on SEC whistleblower cases, lauded a recent Miami appeals court ruling that helps to protect whistleblowers. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals rejected a lower court ruling that whistlebower protections do not apply to employees who are supposed to report fraud as part of their job description.

Keefe told the legal publication LAW360 that this is good news for whistleblowers.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

The case made waves in the whistleblower community when the trial court’s decision was first handed down, according to James & Hoyer PA attorney Sean Keefe, who said any decision that cuts into the teeth of the False Claims Act, whether at the state or federal level, gets notice among attorneys.

Keefe said the trial court’s ruling, had it stood, “could have created a blueprint” for employers to protect themselves against the reach of the whistleblower statute.

Instead, the Third District handed whistleblowers another tool to fight retaliation that Keefe said could be referenced even in cases dealing with private-sector employees, which are not explicitly covered in the statute.

“It’s good for private citizens too,” Keefe said. “They might have been harmed by this decision had the Third District not ruled this way.”

The case under appeal involved a city of Miami independent general auditor who reported securities violations by the city to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and then aided in the investigation.  Victor Igwe’s contract was not renewed after he reported $38 million in improper transfers intended to improve the city’s bond rating.

Click here to read more in the LAW360 article.

 

 

 

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

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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.