Whistleblower Wins Settlement in Lawsuit against Southwest Airlines

A Southwest Airlines mechanic who alleges that he was disciplined for finding and reporting cracks in the fuselage of a Boeing 737-700 has won a settlement. According to Forbes, Southwest has agreed to pay the mechanic $35,000 in legal fees and remove the disciplinary action from his file.

Forbes reports that the case was filed under the whistleblower protection of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, or AIR-21 statute. Under this statute, airline workers are entitled to an appeal process if they are fired or disciplined for reporting safety issues.

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VA Whistleblower Accuses Agency of Improper Spending on Federal Charge Cards

Members of a congressional subcommittee were not happy with testimony last week from senior officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at a hearing looking into improper use of federal charge cards.

The hearing was called because of a whistleblower’s 35-page letter that claimed the VA illegally spent up to $6 billion a year through improper use of purchase cards. According to the letter writer, Jan Frye, VA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Logistics, the practice had been going on for years, KUSA-TV (Denver) reports.

House members of the committee were angry over allegations of widespread use of purchase cards in violation of federal regulations. Committee members faulted high-level VA officials for failing to take long-standing complaints seriously, the Washington Post reports.

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Inspire to Pay $5.9M over Misleading Marketing Claims for AzaSite

Inspire to Pay $5.9M for AzaSite

Inspire to Pay $5.9M for AzaSite

Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has agreed to pay $5.9 million to state and federal governments over misleading marketing claims it made about AzaSite, a drug approved to treat pink eye. According to a press release issued by U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the settlement resolved civil fraud claims alleging that the company marketed AzaSite for non-FDA approved uses for financial gain. The company made admissions as to its conduct as part of the settlement. The case stems from whisltleblower allegations filed under the False Claims Act.

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Former Brokers File $20 Million Lawsuit Against Morgan Stanley

Former Brokers File $20M Lawsuit Against Morgan Stanley

Former Brokers File $20M Lawsuit Against Morgan Stanley


Two former brokers have hit Morgan Stanley with a $20 million lawsuit, alleging they were fired in retaliation for complaining about improper practices and violations of securities law.

Jamie Feldman-Boland and John Boland, who are married, say they witnessed trainees and interns entering trades on behalf of advisors, presumably using brokers’ access codes in violation of firm policy, the web site On Wall Street reports.

The two say they also witnessed an advisor trying to improperly get an insurance commission. They allege a business deal worth $200 million was cancelled to punish Feldman and that another advisor and the branch manager harassed Feldman. Morgan Stanley denies the allegations, On Wall Street reports.

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Hanford Whistleblower to Receive $4.1 Million Settlement

Hanford Whistleblower to Receive $4.1M Settlement

Hanford Whistleblower to Receive $4.1M Settlement


Dr. Walter Tamosaitis has agreed to a $4.1 million settlement of his federal whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against the Hanford nuclear facility about a year before the case was scheduled to go to trial.

Dr. Tamosaitis, an employee of contractor URS, was a lead engineer at the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant on a research team addressing issues involving the mixing of toxic and radioactive sludge so that it be pumped into waste treatment processors. In his federal complaint, Tamosaitis alleged that he suffered retaliation after he challenged by contractor Bechtel claim that the mixing issues had been resolved by a July 2010 deadline, television station KNDU reports.

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New Jersey Supreme Court Widens State Whistleblower Protections

NJ Supreme Court Widens State Whistleblower Protections

NJ Supreme Court Widens State Whistleblower Protections

The New Jersey Supreme Court has widened the state’s whistleblower law, extending its protections to employees whose jobs entail identifying health and safety risks.

In a unanimous decision, the court affirmed an appeals court ruling that found whistleblower protections cover watchdog employees, NJ Spotlight reports. The 38-page decision was written by Justice Jaynee LaVecchia.

Advocates of the law argued that without protection against employer retaliation, employees whose job is to report health and safety issues may be less likely to speak out about problems they learn of. Business groups say that widening the law’s application may make it harder for companies to manage its watchdog employees, according to NJ Spotlight.

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Perceived Whistleblower in Washington State Awarded $1 Million

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Whistleblower in Washington State Awarded $1M

Whistleblower in Washington State Awarded $1M

A man who was perceived as a whistleblower has been awarded $1 million. The jury verdict, which was issued on March 26, 2015, was issued after finding that the man’s demotion was a retaliatory action by his employer. The plaintiff in the case works for the Washington State Ferry System as a carpenter shop foreman. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff became aware of a co-worker allegedly using a state-owned vehicle to attend baseball games and practices during work hours. He reported this information to his supervisor, who said he would investigate the issue, but did not.

Another person, not the plaintiff, filed an anonymous whistleblower complaint two months later regarding the same issue. Following the complaint, the plaintiff was allegedly subject to retaliatory actions, including performance-related warnings. The co-worker reportedly using the state-owned vehicle was suspended after a year-long investigation, but the plaintiff was still demoted. The demotion was supposedly for performance issues, but the plaintiff alleges that this was retaliation. The jury agreed, and awarded the verdict in his favor after finding that his employer violated the Washington State Employee Whistleblower Protection Act.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit under the Washington State Employee Whistleblower Protection Act. This act protects both actual and “perceived” whistleblowers, defined as “[a]n employee who is perceived by the employer as reporting, whether they did or not, alleged improper governmental action … .”) The jury found that the plaintiff was viewed as a whistleblower and suffered subsequent retaliation.

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Senate Panel Approves Auto Industry Whistleblower Program

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Senate Panel Approves Auto Industry Whistleblower Program

Senate Panel Approves Auto Industry Whistleblower Program

On Thursday, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee unanimously backed legislation that would offer whistleblower incentives to employees in the automobile industry. Reuters reports that all 12 Republican and Democrat members voted in favor of the legislation, sending it to the floor of the Senate. The measure follows recent safety concerns with automakers, including defective General Motors Co ignition switches and Takata Corp air bag inflators.

There is no definitive vote date thus far, said an aide to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. If the full chamber votes in favor of the bill, it would then be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Maine Agrees to Pay $142,000 to Whistleblower who Allegedly Faced Retaliation for Refusing to Shred Public Documents

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Maine Agrees to Pay $142,000 to Whistleblower

Maine Agrees to Pay $142,000 to Whistleblower


A former division director for the Maine Center for Disease Control is to receive $142,000 to settle her whistleblower lawsuit. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services released the settlement agreement on Friday. According to Sun Journal, the whistleblower alleges that she suffered harassment and retaliation for refusing to shred public documents.

The documents were related to funding the Health Maine Partnerships programs, Sun Journal reports. In April 2013, the whistleblower filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission alleging that her bosses ordered her to shred these documents, along with other things.

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Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses NantHealth of Fraud

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Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses NantHealth of Fraud

Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses NantHealth of Fraud


Health technology firm NantHealth is facing a lawsuit filed by two former executives alleging the company committed fraud. According to the New York Times, the wrongful-termination lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Panama City, Fla.

NantHealth’s system is meant to link patient information using different medical devices and pieces of hospital equipment. The company is owned by a billionaire surgeon and business entrepreneur whose business relationships have been scrutinized in the past. Over a decade ago, NYT reported that the surgeon headed a drug company with financial ties to Premier; the major purchaser of supplies for hospitals nationwide is not supposed to have such conflicts of interest.

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Arguments in Katrina Whistleblower Case Appeal Scheduled for February

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Whistleblower_Advisor_Arguments_Katrina_Whistleblower_Case_Appeal_for_FebruaryOral arguments have been scheduled for February in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.’s appeal of an order that it pay legal fees and damages of $3 million in a whistleblower lawsuit. The jury found the insurer defrauded the government in a claim after Hurricane Katrina.

The case was brought in 2006 by Cori and Kerri Rigsby, sisters from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, who worked for an Alabama contractor that provided damages assessments to State Farm after the August 2005 hurricane, The Associated Press (AP) reports.
In 2013, a jury found that State Farm avoided covering a policyholder’s wind losses by categorizing it as water damage from the storm surge, which is covered by federal flood insurance.

The sisters pursued cases for a number of policyholders, but only one came to trial, the case of Thomas and Pamela McIntosh. The McIntoshes lost their Biloxi, Mississippi, home to the storm. The sisters allege State Farm defrauded the McIntoshes by manipulating engineers’ reports so claims could be denied, according to the AP. The Rigsbys also alleged that State Farm’s fraud against the National Flood Insurance Program was widespread along the Mississippi coast.

State Farm says it correctly assessed the McIntoshes’ damage and never instructed its adjusters to wrongly process claims as flood damage, nor did it withhold a report that showed the home had been destroyed by wind as the Rigbys alleged.

At State Farm’s direction, the flood insurance program paid the Macintoshes the policy limits of $250,000, the AP reports. State Farm initially paid the couple $36,000 for wind damage on a policy that provided more than $500,000 in coverage, according to court documents.

U.S. District Judge Halil S. Ozerden ordered State Farm to pay $750,000 in damages to the government. Under the federal False Claims Act, a whistleblower law dating back to the Civil War, individuals may sue on behalf of the government and receive a portion of funds recovered if the case is successful. If damages are upheld on appeal, the Rigsbys will each receive 15 percent of the $750,000 judgment, according to the AP.

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National Law Firm, Parker Waichman LLP, Seeks Increased Transparency and Ethics from the Pharmaceutical Industry in the New Year

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In the new year, Parker Waichman LLP hopes for increased testing, safety, and efficacy in the processes and promotions used by Big Pharma so that consumers may be confident that they are receiving safe and effective medications that were ethically developed, tested, and marketed.

Parker Waichman, a national law firm that has long been an advocate for victims of defective medications is urging the pharmaceutical industry, as we approach a new year, to step up the ways in which it develops, tests, inspects, and markets medications.

In the new year, Parker Waichman is seeking increased transparency and accountability from all drug makers, with the hope that patient welfare is made the key priority and placed before drug approval activities and profits.

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