John F. Murphy received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and his LLB from Boston College Law School. After practicing as a partner in one of the largest law firms in the state of Connecticut in matters involving civil litigation and criminal defense, Attorney Murphy opened his own law office and concentrated on the False Claims Act (called qui tam) litigation. He is admitted to practice in the District Courts of the state of Connecticut, in the District of Columbia, in the state of Colorado, and in the Eastern District of Michigan. When a False Claims matter involves a lawsuit outside the state of Connecticut, Mr. Murphy obtains what is known as a pro hac vice admission in that state, that allows him to practice, for the one case, in the United States District Court where the fraud took place.
Mr. Murphy is past President of the Federal Bar Association of Hartford County, Founder and first President of the Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association. He is the former Chairman of the Defense Research Institute in Connecticut. He served as the Northeast Representative from the New England states to the Defense Research Institute. He is a former member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association.
Mr. Murphy’s publications include Errors in the Charge in Litigation, The Journal of the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association, Vol.14 No.3. He edited revision, Chapter 13, “Powers of the Trial Judge Regarding Conduct of the Trial” of The Federal Evidence Practice Guide. His book, “May I Approach the Bench?” with 69 stories involving judges, defense lawyers, injured plaintiffs and criminals – the innocent and the guilty – all of whom he’s represented in his life as a trial lawyer, was published in 2011.
Attorney Murphy served on active duty as the Commanding Officer in a rifle company of the United States Marine Corps, where he achieved the rank of Captain. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia and in Gabon Equatorial Africa. He is fluent in both Spanish and French.
Recent False Claims Experience
1. Medicare Fraud.
Mr. Murphy brought an action in Connecticut against Raytel Corporation for Medicare fraud. Raytel sells devices and services patients who have pacemakers implanted in their chests. Periodically, when a heart physician orders the test of the pacemaker, the patient uses the Raytel monitoring device to connect by telephone with Raytel. The Raytel employee then performs three thirty second tests of the pacemaker while she views the patient’s heartbeat on a computer screen. From what the employee views on the screen, he or she can tell the patient and the physician whether the pacemaker is functioning properly.
Raytel was being paid approximately $45.00 per test by the Government and was performing approximately 100,000 tests per year when the whistleblower came to see Mr. Murphy. The man reported that his supervisor was using phony printouts in a scheme to bill Medicare for the testing of actual patients who had postponed or cancelled their appointments. The whistleblower was fired by his supervisor when he refused to participate in this scheme. The whistleblower also disclosed to Mr. Murphy that Raytel, after giving bonuses to employees based on the number of tests they performed, had ordered its employees to eliminate thirty seconds of the ninety second test, so that the test would last a minute rather than a minute and a half. This fraudulent act was geared to increasing the number of tests that could be performed, and therefore billed, to Medicare.
After reviewing this web site, when the whistleblower contacted Mr. Murphy, Mr. Murphy learned that the Medicare Fraud Investigators had executed a search warrant at Raytel after the former employee (the whistleblower) had contacted the Government with an anonymous letter. When he came to see Mr. Murphy, almost two years after he had “blown the whistle,” the whistleblower heard “through the grapevine” that the Government was in the process of filing criminal charges. Realizing that time was critical, Mr. Murphy immediately filed the qui tam lawsuit – within six days after he first was retained.
Following a meeting with the Medicare fraud investigators and officials from the Department of Justice, the United States Attorney advised Mr. Murphy and his client that, yes indeed, the “grapevine” was correct – the Government on the following Monday was prepared to get guilty pleas from Raytel, and, further, the Government was in the process of collecting $11.5 million from Raytel in fines and penalties for fraud that was based on the information provided by the relator. But because the qui tam lawsuit had been filed, the United States could not close the matter. The U.S. Attorney asked how much it would take to obtain a release from the relator.
The whistleblower was rewarded – as the False Claims original source – with a payment of $1.62 million dollars.
2. Construction Contract Fraud.
Mr. Murphy represented the whistleblower in a qui tam lawsuit against Balfour-Beatty and Mass Electric, construction companies that were involved in building the railroad tracks and catenary system for the high speed Acela Express on the Amtrak route from Washington, D.C. to Boston. What follows is the press release from the Department of Justice:
FIRMS TO PAY GOVERNMENT NEARLY $25 MILLION FOR INFLATING CLAIMS MADE TO AMTRAK
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A joint venture of engineering and construction companies has agreed to pay the United States $24.75 million to settle allegations that the firms violated the False Claims Act, the Justice Department announced today. The government asserts the companies violated the False Claims Act by knowingly submitting inflated claims on Amtrak’s project to electrify the rail corridor between New Haven and Boston.
Balfour Beatty Construction; Massachusetts Electric Construction Company; their joint Venture BBC-MEC; J. F. White Contracting Company; and Northeast Corridor Foundations, a joint venture between J.F. White and BBC-MEC, are alleged to have overcharged Amtrak for the installation of an overhead system used to deliver electricity to locomotives. The allegations are that the parties inflated claims regarding the foundations for the poles, the electrical power system, and for delay and disruption of the overall project. The overcharges were paid with grant funds provided to Amtrak by the federal government.
“This settlement sends a clear message that the Justice Department will investigate and resolve financial fraud perpetrated by contractors of federal grantees,” said Peter Keisler, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division.
BBC-MEC was the prime contractor on the project and J.F. White was a partner in the subcontractor whose responsibility was to install the foundations for the poles. BBC is a subsidiary of London-based Balfour Beatty PLC, and MEC is a subsidiary of Peter Keiwit & Sons, Inc. BBC’s primary U.S. office is in Atlanta. MEC and J.F. White are based in Boston.
“The whistleblower provision of the False Claim Act offers a powerful financial incentive,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin J. O’Connor of the District of Connecticut. “Individuals with knowledge of fraud against the government are encouraged to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
This case was originally filed under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Ian Cartwright, a former Balfour Beatty employee. As a result of the settlement, Cartwright will receive $3,898,125 of the total recovery. Under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, private parties can file an action on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the proceeds of a settlement or judgment awarded against a defendant.
The settlement resulted after a lengthy investigation by the Justice Department made in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General.
The case is entitled U.S. ex rel. Cartwright v. Balfour Beatty, et al., Civil No. 3:99CV02585 (JCH) (D. CT.).
3. Medicare Fraud
In U.S. ex rel. Smith v. Lincare, the headline read: Home Oxygen Equipment Supplier Pays $526,000 to Settle Overbilling Claims, Reports U.S. Attorney. The following was taken from the Springfield, Massachusetts Newswire:
A national home oxygen equipment supplier has agreed to pay $526,000 to resolve federal civil claims that three of the company’s central Massachusetts facilities overbilled the Medicare. United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Joseph C. Moraski, Special Agent in Charge of Investigations for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; and James M. Benages, Regional Director of the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the Department of Labor, announced that LINCARE, INC., with corporate offices in Clearwater, Florida, has paid $526,000 to the United States to settle False Claims Act allegations that it overbilled Medicare for home oxygen equipment furnished by three of its facilities located in Marlborough, Dudley and Cherry Valley, Massachusetts. The agreement settles a qui tam or “whistle blower” suit alleging that LINCARE submitted claims for payment to Medicare based on qualifying tests performed by LINCARE employees. Medical equipment providers are not permitted to perform the tests that qualify an individual for medical equipment paid for by Medicare. The settlement covers claims submitted for payment from January 1, 1999 through March 31, 2004, by the three central Massachusetts LINCARE facilities. By means of the settlement, the government has recovered all of the overpayments, plus additional sums to offset the government’s cost of investigating this matter. Also, LINCARE has entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General in order that, among other things, its compliance with the Medicare billing guidelines can be monitored. The civil False Claims Act provides that where persons submit, cause others to submit, or conspire to submit, false or fraudulent claims to the United States Government, including its federal health care programs, the Government is entitled to recover treble damages and $5,500 to $11,000 for each false or fraudulent claim submitted. Private individuals are allowed to file whistleblower suits under the False Claims Act to bring the government information about wrongdoing, and if the government is successful in resolving or litigating their claims, to share in the recovery by receiving generally 15% to 25% of the amount recovered. As a part of this resolution, the whistleblower, a former LINCARE sales representative, will receive $96,680. This matter was investigated by the Inspector General’s Office of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Employee Benefits Security Administration. The matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen L. Goodwin in Sullivan’s Springfield Office.
4.The Government’s “Most Favored Customer” Clause
Mr. Murphy currently is involved in a Whistleblower’s lawsuit against Philip Morris. The claim is based on the “most favored customer” provisions the United States requires in all of its contracts – in other words, the corporation contracting with the United States Government is required to give the Government the same, or lowest price on the product being purchased by the Government that it is giving to its other customers. This provision is what makesthe United States a “most favored customer.” The lawsuit against Philip Morris claims that, for each and every carton of Marlboro cigarettes that were sold on military bases overseas for the past six years, Philip Morris was charging the Army, the Navy, the Marines and the Air Force Military Exchanges $5.00 more per carton of Marlboros than it was charging its civilian customers overseas. The lawyers for Philip Morris have filed a motion to dismiss in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, and all the parties through their attorneys have filed their briefs, and they currently, as of early December, 2012, are awaiting the Court’s decision.
Attorney’s Fees and Expenses
Every fee agreement and expense proposal is in writing and explains all the charges in detail. Because most Relators (Whistleblowers) cannot afford to pay hourly fees as they are incurred, it is John Murphy’s practice to accept cases on a contingent fee basis. He is paid only if there is an actual financial recovery, with the fee being a one third contingent fee on any total recovery that is awarded to the relator. Expenses are paid by the client at the close of the case regardless of the outcome.
Confidentiality; Communications; Attorney Client Privilege
If your company – your employer, your hospital, etc. – has done any of the things enumerated on this web site, it is important that you get a lawyer to take a look at the facts you have accumulated. Communications with The Law Office of John F. Murphy are confidential, and are protected by the attorney client privilege. The phone number (860) 233-9946 is where Attorney Murphy can be reached. An E-mail address also is listed. If you wish to contact Attorney Murphy and you are concerned about confidentiality, please leave a message or simply your name without the message, or don’t even leave your name if you wish not to, but rather let Attorney Murphy’s office know how you would like to make contact. Even if no such instructions are given, when Mr. Murphy returns the telephone call, he will say “Mr. Murphy is returning the phone call.” He does not even identify himself as an attorney. In short, Mr. Murphy does everything he can to protect you as he arranges for a meeting to discuss what is needed to pursue your claim.
A Word About John F. Murphy as a Trial Lawyer
Each client is unique. John F. Murphy takes the time to understand the individual’s personal circumstances and objectives. He is dedicated and willing to make a long-term commitment to do whatever is necessary for each client’s case. His practice offers the depth of experience one might expect in a large metropolitan law firm, but he has additional dimensions which set him apart. He brings to each and every claim a constructive imagination as well as caring, personal treatment. As a seasoned trial attorney and negotiator, he takes pride in the value he adds through his skill, experience and responsiveness to every client’s needs. He enjoys a reputation for integrity, competence, efficiency and professionalism, and is seen within his profession as an attorney who consistently strives to achieve outstanding results for his clients. He has been given the highest AV rating by his fellow attorneys.
Prior to concentrating his focus on the False Claims Act, Attorney Murphy tried cases in both the state and federal court system involving franchise agreements, death actions, covenants not to compete, products liability claims and a broad range running from corporate to personal injury litigation. He has negotiated and settled more than one thousand cases through his years of courtroom experience as a trial attorney. He offers a unique blend of legal competence and negotiating expertise, the highest rating from fellow attorneys, diligent, thorough preparation, as well as compassion and understanding. He has courtroom experience involving the proceeds of a life insurance policy and the interpretation of the presumption of death of a missing person after a seven year disappearance. He has been involved in all phases of the claims procedure – from arbitration proceedings of underinsured motorist claims to jury trials involving simple assault, brain stem injury and wrongful death. He has defended a man accused of arson murder. He has tried cases involving attempted murder and simple assault. He recovered a quarter million dollars for a woman who was sexually involved with the father of her best friend when she was thirteen years old.
John F. Murphy is prepared to adapt to and accommodate either the simple or the complex False Claims matter. He has been seasoned with jury trials which tested the standards of crash worthiness of a minivan in a head-on collision, and he has tried the issue of facial scarring of a five-year-old attacked by a vicious dog. He has pursued claims against manufacturers in death actions resulting from defects in the automatic shutoff valve in the explosion of a furnace, and he has brought lawsuits for the “slip and fall” on an icy surface. He has litigated both the duty to warn on the susceptibility to rollover of an all-terrain vehicle and claims relating to construction and design defects in the manufacture of a ladder.
Because of his broad range of experience, Mr. Murphy has a great deal of insight in evaluating the ranges of recovery in all civil actions involving False Claims. Because he has practiced in all courts of the state and throughout the federal system of the United States, he is uniquely positioned to give clients what they need, deserve and expect.
Attorney John F. Murphy would like to hear from you if you believe you have a False Claims case.