AbbVie Agrees to $2.7 Million Settlement for False Claim Act Whistleblower Lawsuit over Humira Prescriptions
Pharmaceutical company AbbVie Inc. has agreed to pay $2.7 million to settle a whistleblower False Claims Act lawsuit, which alleged that the company used unlawful kickbacks to encourage medical providers to prescribe its drug Humira. Federal prosecutors have announced multiple settlements in 2023 for False Claim Act allegations, a list of 12 including the Humira settlement are listed here.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Warning About E-Bikes, E-Bike Battery Fire in NYC Kills Two Children
On December 20th, 2022, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a memo calling the rate of e-bike battery fires a “crisis”. This is referencing both the amount of property destruction and injuries and death being caused by lithium-ion battery fires in e-bikes. Recent e-bike fires have made the news after battery explosions have caused house fires, injuries and death. On Monday April 10th, 2023, a 7-year-old boy and his 19-year-old sister died after being trapped in their Queens, New York City apartment when an e-bike battery exploded. The fire, described by the FDNY Chief as like an explosion, had blocked their only exit.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall of approximately 53,000 Jetson Rogue 42-volt self-balancing scooters/hoverboards, due to the lithium-ion battery packs overheating and fire hazards. This follows a tragic fire in Hellertown, Pennsylvania, on April 1, 2022, which caused the death of two girls aged 10 and 15. The fire was determined to have originated from the 42-volt Jetson Rogue hoverboard.
On March 6th, 2023, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced they secured an emergency action to freeze the assets of BKCoin Management LLC and its owner and operator Kevin Kang. The SEC alleges BKCoin ran a Ponzi-like cryto asset management fraud, using $100 million in investor funds to pay investors “returns”, and misusing investor funds to pay for expensive vacations, tickets, and apartment rentals.
On February 17th, 2023, the Illinois Supreme Court issued the opinion in Cothron v White Castle Systems, ruling that the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) defines violations as each time a private entity scans or transmits data that violates BIPA. With the clarity from the Illinois Supreme Court that BIPA violations occur each time biometric information is collected without consent or approval, the BIPA damages of $1000 ($5000 if “willful”) occur with each act.
Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky LLP announces the launch of a mediation practice at the firm. Joshua Konecky, who has been with the firm since 2004, is leading the practice and serving as the neutral for the mediations. Josh has spent over twenty-five years litigating and managing complex civil litigation in the state and federal courts in California and across the country. He has extensive experience in employment law, including wage and hour class actions, and has facilitated settlements in a variety of other subject areas.
A Sacramento County Superior Court judge has temporarily halted AB 257, after a restaurant group sued the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the director of the California Department of Industrial Relations. The law, which sets new rules on wages and labor standards in the fast-food industry, was set to be enacted on January 1st, 2023.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that during fiscal year 2022 they awarded 103 awards a total of $229 million. Since 2012 the program has awarded $1.3 billion to 328 whistleblowers. The SEC reported the over one billion dollars in awards are a result of $6.3 billion in monetary sanctions. The SEC implemented Whistleblower Rule Amendments in December 2020 that created a new presumption those eligible for an award should receive the maximum 30% when the award would not exceed $5 million. The SEC reported that during fiscal year 2020, over 90% of the awards were able to use this new maximum percentage rule.
Major pharmaceutical antitrust news for December 2022, as of January 1st, 2023.
On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a proposed rule banning non-compete agreements, as well as the settlements it reached with companies for alleged abuse of non-compete agreements. The FTC listed several main goals of their rule proposal, including raising wages for lower and middle-income workers who are increasingly seeing non-compete agreements added to more job types, and concerns over competition.