U.S. ex rel. Stephen Paranich v. Sorngard, Irwin Leasing Corp

Physician as Whistleblower on Notice:Unnecessary Additional Information seen by Government as Self-Motivated Desire to be Excupated from Medicare Fraud in Qui Tam Claim under the False Claims Act


Physician as whistleblower or relator in a qui tam claim, pursuant to the False Claims Act, responded too vigorously to a limited Government subpoena by unnecessary and intensive internal investigations viewed by the Hon.Marjorie Rendell of the 3rd Circuit as 'self-motivated desire' to be exculpated from Medicare fraud, which discounted him as an original source. Thus, the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, within 31 U.S.C. 3730 (e)(4)(B), due to the absence of an original source, which Dr. Paranich originally purported to represent in his federal qui tam action against a surgical equipment leasing corporation that, apparently, led him to believe he could bill Medicare a set fee, which resulted in over billing and up coding hundreds of Medicare claims submitted for payment by the Government. The physician was unaware that the same surgical leasing corporation had been the defendant in two prior actions, which amounted to public disclosures. The lesson: physicians must be wary not to indulge in a massive investigation as the response to a very limited subpoena, thereby supplying the Government with unrequested additional information. Such an over-inclusive response triggers the opposite result by adversely affecting the whistleblower physician by the Court's dismissal of the qui tam claim for lack of jurisdiction and detrimentally expose and implicate the doctor in the Medicare fraud, which Dr. Paranich originally sought to defeat!

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Reference Info:Appellate Brief | Federal, 3rd Circuit, Pennsylvania | United States

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