Ropes & Gray Team Secures Victory for Orthofix in False Claims Act Action

In The News
June 24, 2011

A Ropes & Gray litigation team has secured dismissal for client Orthofix of a qui tam suit under the federal and several state False Claims Acts. 

The law suit, U.S. ex rel Laughlin v. Orthofix International N.V., et al., was originally filed under seal in federal District Court in Texas in 2006, but was transferred to Boston while still under seal to be administratively consolidated with a related action. The relator, a former Director of National Accounts at Orthofix, Inc., alleged that Orthofix, Inc. and its parent, Orthofix International N.V., had submitted and caused to be submitted false claims to federal and state health care programs under several fraudulent billing and marketing theories. The relator also alleged that his employment had been terminated in retaliation for his efforts to investigate the alleged fraud.

Orthofix moved to dismiss the relator’s Amended and Second Amended Complaint in 2009 and 2010. In November 2010, the Court dismissed with prejudice all of the relator’s claims on behalf of the federal and state governments for failure to plead fraud with particularity under Rule 9(b), and dismissed Orthofix, Inc. altogether for want of service. The Court allowed the relator’s retaliation claim under the federal False Claims Act to proceed against the remaining defendant, Orthofix International N.V.

On June 20, 2011, the Court granted Orthofix International’s motion for judgment on the pleadings on this sole remaining claim.

The Ropes & Gray team members representing Orthofix in this litigation are partner Brien O’Connor and associate Andrew O’Connor.