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Orthofix International Close to Resolving Pending Qui Tam Lawsuits

Orthofix International, N.V. (“Orthofix”) announced that it is close to resolving two pending qui tam lawsuits with the federal government.

Bone growth stimulator lawsuit
Orthofix announced that it is finalizing definitive agreements with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to resolve criminal and civil charges relating to its bone growth stimulation business.

The qui tam suit against Orthofix was initially filed on March 23, 2005 by whistleblower Jeffrey Bierman under the False Claims Act and three other bio-medical companies. According to the terms of the pending agreements, Orthofix will pay a total of $42 million to resolve the allegations that Orthofix submitted reimbursement-related false claims associated with the sale versus rental of its bone growth stimulator devices.

Blackstone Medical, Inc.

Orthofix announced it has reached an agreement in principle with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts to pay $32 million related to a qui tam suit against its subsidiary, Blackstone Medical, Inc. (“Blackstone”). The settlement is subject to approval by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The qui tam suit was filed on September 29, 2006 by whistleblower Susan Hutcheson, a regional manager for Blackstone from January 2004 until she was terminated in January 2006. The whistleblower complaint, filed under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, alleged that Blackstone was paying illegal kickbacks to doctors nationwide to induce them to use Blackstone’s products in certain spinal surgeries. According to the Complaint, the kickbacks included such things as, monthly payments under sham consulting agreements, research grants, development projects, royalties, entertainment, travel and accommodations.

It is unknown exactly how much the Orthofix whistleblowers will receive as their reward under the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act provides financial incentives to whistleblowers by awarding them between 15% and 30% of any judgment or settlement. If the Government intervenes in the action, the whistleblower is entitled to receive between 15% and 25% of the recovery. If the Government does not intervene, the whistleblower is entitled to receive between 25% and 30% of the recovery.

If you have any firsthand knowledge, information, or evidence related to any federal, state, county or city government fraud, you should speak with an experienced qui tam lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

If you have a claim, contact the Florida whistleblower attorneys at Rabin Kammerer Johnson for a free and confidential consultation by calling toll free at 877.915.4040.

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