In 2009, millionaire Texas attorney Mark Lanier filed suit against Facebook, alleging that the social networking site had violated the privacy of users who voluntarily signed up to share personal information about themselves.
Over the years, Lanier has won numerous multimillion-dollar settlements in dubious lawsuits against deep-pocket defendants, including a recent $4.7 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson for allegedly having cancer-causing asbestos in its talcum powder. His latest get-richer-quick scheme consists of a series of qui tam lawsuits against major healthcare companies.
Other Texas law firms participating in the scheme include McKool Smith, Patton Tidwell, and Howry Breen.
But the federal government has blown the whistle on the whistleblowers.
Having spent hundreds of hours investigating false allegations of kickbacks, the U.S. Department of Justice is asking federal judges to dismiss the meritless lawsuits filed in their courts under the federal False Claims Act by Lanier and other attorneys on behalf of Health Choice Group and various other shell companies.
“Having completed its investigation, and finding the allegations to lack sufficient merit to justify the cost of investigation and prosecution and otherwise be contrary to the public interest, the United States now seeks to dismiss these actions,” the DOJ motion states.
“By utilizing cloned complaints and information gleaned from its fictitious ‘research study,’ [the shell group] advances sweeping allegations of nationwide misconduct by thirty-eight different defendants – allegations that, for Medicare Part D alone, implicate more than 73 million prescriptions written by hundreds of thousands of different physicians for millions of different Medicare beneficiaries,” the motion said.
“In this case dismissal is appropriate because it is rationally related to the valid governmental purposes of preserving scarce government resources and protecting important policy prerogatives of the federal government’s healthcare programs,” the motion said.
DOJ attorneys have spent more than 1,500 hours investigating the complaints.
DOJ’s motion to dismiss should be granted, and Lanier, et al. should be investigated for possible misuse of a good law, clogging our courts with frivolous litigation, wasting taxpayers’ money, and giving legitimate whistleblowers a bad name.