This month the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana denied Community Health Network’s (“Community”) motion to dismiss the United States’ complaint-in-intervention alleging that Community submitted false claims based on underlying violations of the Stark Law. United States ex rel. Fischer v. Community Health Network, Inc., No. 14-cv-1215 (S.D. Ind.). The complaint alleged that Community violated the Stark Law through physician compensation that exceeds fair market value (“FMV”) and is based on the volume or value of referrals. The opinion is notable in concluding that even physician compensation at the 90th percentile of rates paid in the market can plausibly allege a financial relationship that is not FMV and thus violates the Stark Law.
A District of Nevada magistrate judge has ruled that an FCA defendant’s assertion that it complied with “all applicable legal requirements” constitutes a “good faith” defense that waives the attorney-client privilege. The opinion highlights the thin line between a mere denial of scienter (which should not waive the privilege) and an affirmative good faith defense (which may), and illustrates the difficult choices FCA defendants face when deciding how best to respond to an allegation that they knowingly attempted to commit fraud.