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Berger & Montague's Whistleblower Lawsuit Against NextCare Settled, NextCare Pays A Total Of $10 Million

Posted: July 3, 2012
Outcome: Settlement
Practice Areas: Whistleblowers, Qui Tam & False Claims Act

Berger & Montague, P.C., a nationally known full-spectrum civil litigation law firm with one of the largest and most successful whistleblower practices in the U.S, has recently settled its whistleblower lawsuit against NextCare, Inc. ("NextCare"), the nation's largest privately owned urgent care provider. Under the agreement, NextCare will pay a total of $10 million.

The lawsuit was brought under the federal and state False Claims Acts, which provide insiders with the opportunity to bring fraud committed against the government to the attention of the authorities.  There were two whistleblowers in this case, one of whom was the firm's client, Antonio Saidiani. Daniel R. Miller, lead counsel for Mr. Saidiani and a shareholder in the firm, praised his client: "Mr. Saidiani could have been a bystander and said nothing about what he witnessed.  Instead, he had the courage to bring this fraud into the light of day." As part of the settlement, Mr. Saidiani will receive a modest portion of the settlement money paid by NextCare.

The lawsuit alleged that the fraud was masterminded by NextCare's then-CEO, Dr. John Schufeldt, who championed corporate policies which caused widespread unnecessary allergy testing, unnecessary testing for flu virus, and serious "upcoding" violations (a scheme where a healthcare provider performs a patient-related service, but bills the government for a different, higher-paying service). Mr. Saidiani's lawsuit also named Schufeldt, personally, as a defendant.  Today's settlement does not resolve those claims. Although the government declined to pursue the lawsuit against Schufeldt, Mr. Saidiani will carry on the fight with respect to Schufeldt, who is presently involved in various other ventures in the healthcare field (see, e.g.,  http://www.physiciansmoneydigest.com/your-money/Entrepreneur-Physicians-Many-Hats). He has also served as an adjunct professor at Arizona State University, teaching Health Law and Ethics, and as an adjunct professor at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, teaching a seminar on health law entrepreneurism.

Berger & Montague's whistleblower practice group, which has recovered well over $1 billion for federal and state governments over the course of the last decade, is committed to filing and litigating qui tam lawsuits under the federal and state False Claims Acts, the SEC whistleblower program, and the IRS whistleblower program. Sherrie R. Savett, Chair of the Qui Tam Practice Group and a member of the firm's Management Committee, stated that the settlement with NextCare "underscores Berger & Montague's commitment to representing whistleblowers, and our intention to maintain our Qui Tam Practice Group as a major force in U.S. whistleblower representation."