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A&G’s Qui Tam Team Receives Second Favorable Ruling in a Month

Amos Cancer Center

Ashcraft & Gerel’s Qui Tam team and relator Richard Barker received some good news this week  from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia in the case of U.S. ex. rel. Richard Barker v. Columbus Regional Healthcare, et al.

Ashcraft & Gerel’s Qui Tam team and relator Richard Barker received some good news this week  from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia in the case of U.S. ex. rel. Richard Barker v. Columbus Regional Healthcare, et al.

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia denied in full Defendant, Thomas J. Tidwell, M.D.’s motion to dismiss Mr. Barker’s Amended Complaint.

In his Amended Complaint, Mr. Barker alleges, among other things, that the defendant Columbus Regional intentionally overpaid defendant Dr. Thomas J. Tidwell for his Cancer Treatment Center. According to the Amended Complaint, Columbus Regional paid Dr. Tidwell $10.5 million in order to stop a competitor from buying the cancer treatment center. It is alleged that this action violates the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Federal False Claims Act.

Mr. Barker also alleges that Dr. Tidwell asked for and received reimbursement for services never rendered. According to the Amended Complaint,  Dr. Tidwell charged Medicare, Medicaid, and other government funded healthcare programs for radiation therapy treatment the he was unable to render.

The Defendant, Dr. Tidwell, moved for dismissal of Mr. Barker’s Amended Complaint under Rule 9(b) and Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  Generally, a lawsuit brought in U.S. District Court must fulfill the criteria of Rule 9 (b)  and Rule 12 (b) (6).  Rule 9 (b), in its simplest form, states that the relator must show specifically how the fraud was perpetrated.  Rule 12 (b) (6) generally states that a complaint must allege conduct sufficient to allow to support a right to recovery.

The judge ruled that Mr. Barker’s Amended Complaint had indeed fulfilled the criteria of both Rule 9 (b) and 12 (b) (6) saying, ” [w]ithout the benefit of discovery, it is difficult to imagine how Plaintiff here [Mr. Barker] could have been any more specific in his allegations.”.

Congratulations to Nathan M. Peak, and the rest of the Qui Tam team on this hard won step forward.