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False Claims Actions against Planned Parenthood Continue

Women pro-choice protesters gather in judges' gowns and hold gavels outside the Supreme Court in Washington.

The ACLJ is involved in two lawsuits against Planned Parenthood clinics and affiliates in both California and Texas: U.S. ex rel. Gonzalez v. Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles and U.S. ex rel. Reynolds v. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

As these cases are moving full speed ahead, one in a federal court of appeals and the other in a federal trial court, a status report on these two important cases is in order.

Gonzalez v. Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles:

ACLJ attorneys represent P. Victor Gonzalez in a federal qui tam action brought under the federal False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et seq., and California False Claims Act, Cal. Gov’t Code §§ 12651 et seq. According to Gonzalez, the former Vice President of Finance and Administration of Defendant Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles (2002–2004), he learned of an ongoing statewide scheme of unlawful overbilling among the defendants, which include all California Planned Parenthood affiliates and officers, with the intent to maximize revenue received from government healthcare programs (such as Medicaid, Medi-Cal, and FPACT). The complaint alleges that defendants’ knowingly engaged in such overbilling in violation of both federal and state law. Between 1997 and 2004, defendants’ overbilling for birth control drugs and devises resulted in an illicit windfall to the defendants in an amount in excess of 200 million dollars. The complaint “blows the whistle” on these false claims, seeking damages, penalties, costs, and attorney fees.

The complaint was dismissed by the district court on June 26, 2012, and we appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on July 23, 2012, where briefing is currently underway.  (Our opening brief was filed with the Ninth Circuit on December 27, 2012.)

Reynolds v. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast:

ACLJ attorneys represent Karen Reynolds in a federal qui tam action brought under the federal False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et seq., and the Texas Human Resources Code §§ 32.039, et seq., and 36.002, et seq. According to Reynolds, during her employment by Defendant Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (“PPGC”) between 1999 and 2009, she learned that PPGC knowingly engaged in continued violations of both federal and state law by adopting and implementing company-wide billing policies intended to maximize revenue received from government health care programs (such as Medicaid and Title XX) by expressly requiring PPGC’s clinics in Texas and Louisiana to bill the federal and state governments for reimbursement for (i) medical services that were never actually rendered; (ii) medical services that, although rendered, were known by Defendant to be medically unnecessary; and (iii) abortion-related services that PPGC knew were not properly reimbursable through these government programs.

On August 10, 2012, the district court issued a ruling on Planned Parenthood’s motion to dismiss the complaint.  While the court dismissed in part the claims brought under Texas law, the court held that the claims brought under the federal False Claims Act could proceed.

Trial is currently scheduled to begin on March 4, 2013.

We will continue to keep you posted as both cases move forward.

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