In the Mortgage Field Services Industry, irony is a constant companion. Many within the Foreclosurepedia Nation recall the Kelly Brown v Five Brothers, US Bank, et al. Qui Tam action filed by the ambulance chasing firm SHEPHERD, FINKELMAN, MILLER & SHAH, LLP (SFMS). These folks have a real special place in my world when it comes to loathing. For those of you not familiar, simply pick up this month’s copy of FireWire,
The term “Qui Tam” originated in medieval England and its meaning comes from the Latin, “who sues on behalf of the King as well as for himself.” It became a part of United States jurisprudence during the Civil War when President Lincoln moved to stanch the epidemic of defective military supplies being sold to the Union. For approximately 140 years after the adoption of the False Claims Act (originally called the Lincoln Law) and its Qui Tam provisions, the U.S. Department of Defense contributed the lion’s share of cases and rewards to whistleblowers, much of which was attributable to the nation’s military build-up in the 1980’s.
In 1986, when the law was amended to increase rewards for whistleblowers and provide additional protections for those who stepped forward to report fraud, healthcare began its ascent towards becoming the predominate industry giving rise to Qui Tam lawsuits alleging violations of the False Claims Act. By the 1990’s, healthcare supplanted defense as the predominant government expenditure giving rise to Qui Tam litigation.
By 2020, it is estimated by the trade journal Health Affairs that half of the nation’s annual healthcare costs — an astounding $2.28 trillion — will be borne by the federal government. There is little doubt that in the foreseeable future healthcare fraud will continue to be the industry in which the greatest number of Qui Tam actions are filed as the federal government spends more and more on Medicare and Medicaid. With trillions of dollars being spent, the healthcare sector will continue to be a key target for those who would seek to defraud the federal government.
Now I’m not going to bore everyone with rehashing the details of the Kelly Brown vs 5 Brothels and US Bank case. This case was a slam dunk and early on the lawyers at SFMS basically hung their Client, Kelly Brown, out to dry. I am going to clarify that statement tomorrow and to be very specific here in case the ambulance chasers decide they want a war. I remind Counselors, one and all, that the State Bar Associations take an EXTREMELY NARROW VIEW with respect to licensed Officers of the Court using their Client to influence members of the media to censor their own material. More on that tomorrow as well.