Judge Sides with Lincare in Whistleblower Lawsuit

A Florida judge recently shot down a False Claims Act lawsuit filed against Lincare Inc. after a plaintiff accused the medical supplies company of fraudulent billing and making a number of improper Medicare telemarketing phone calls. According to the judge, the two former employees of Lincare who brought the suit did not provide enough evidence that the company engaged in any form of wrongdoing.

The plaintiffs claimed Lincare and its subsidiary, Diabetic Experts, violated Medicare rules by taking advantage of improper sales leads to make unsolicited telemarketing calls to beneficiaries and by using what they said were “purportedly false assignment of benefits” given to Lincare.

Summary judgment issued

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams ruled that Diabetic Experts is not a separate entity of Lincare, but rather a subsidiary. Thus, because beneficiaries got their supplies from Lincare within the 15 months preceding the alleged improper calls, those calls would not actually be in violation of the False Claims Act. Williams also ruled that all of the assignments of benefit contained sufficiently clear language providing for services to either be rendered by “supplier” or “Lincare.”

Although Williams issued a summary judgment to that element of the case, the plaintiffs did also charge there were other false claims lying with various entities related to Lincare, including Reliant Pharmacy Services and Med4Home. Both parties were tasked with submitting a joint status report to indicate if they wished to make any additional claims, and how they would proceed moving forward.

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