Smith & Nephew, a London-based medical device maker, has agreed to an $11.3 million settlement to resolve claims accusing the manufacturer of selling orthopedic devices to the U.S. government. While the company had initially stated that these products were made in the U.S., a recent whistleblower lawsuit alleges that the devices were manufactured in Malaysia, a country with which the U.S. does not have a trade agreement.
The settlement, filed September 3, 2014 in Tennessee federal court, marked the end of a whistleblower lawsuit that was brought in 2008 by a former Smith & Nephew information technology manager. According to the settlement, $3 million will be set aside for attorneys’ fees, the whistleblower will reportedly receive $2.3 million, and the government will recover $6 million. Under U.S. law, whistleblowers that bring successful claims against parties who willfully defrauded the government are entitled to recover a share of the settlement.
According to the whistleblower, Smith & Nephew violated the federal Trade Agreements Act that requires contractors to sell products to the government that were either made in the U.S. or manufactured in countries with which the U.S. has signed agreements.
The Smith & Nephew lawsuit states that between 2007 and 2008, the manufacturer sold the Department of Veterans Affairs orthopedic devices that the company had purchased from Straits Orthopedics, a Malaysia-based company, while claiming that the products were made in the U.S.
According to the whistleblower’s attorney, the U.S. government did not intervene in the Smith & Nephew lawsuit but joined in negotiating the settlement earlier in 2014. The lawsuit is the first whistleblower settlement involving claims of false country of origin for medical products or devices. Smith & Nephew did not immediately return a request for comment, according to reports.
Those who believe that they have information about an individual or entity who has knowingly defrauded the U.S. government by misrepresenting facts, charging for services or goods not provided, overbilling for products or services, or by otherwise being untruthful may consider filing a whistleblower lawsuit against those allegedly responsible in order to assist the government in recovering compensation. Depending on the circumstances and whether the lawsuit is successful, whistleblowers may be entitled to receive a portion of the recovery.
Do You Have a Smith & Nephew Lawsuit or Possible Whistleblower Lawsuit? We Can Help
If you or a loved one was fitted with the R3 Acetabular System and you suffered from complications or if you believe that you have a whistleblower lawsuit against another individual or entity, contact Attorney Group today. We can evaluate your case at no cost to you, and put you in touch with one of our affiliated attorneys who can file your Smith & Nephew lawsuit or assist you in bringing about a claim on behalf of the U.S. government. The time to pursue a claim is limited, so call today.