11th Circuit revives some of hospital company exec’s FCA claims

From Westlaw Journal Health Care Fraud: A former health care executive who alleged his ex-employer paid kickbacks and violated a federal law governing physician referrals can proceed with some allegations in his False Claims Act suit against the hospital operator, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said J. Michael Mastej offered enough support for his claims that Health Management Associates Inc. paid kickbacks and violated the Stark Law during the time he was worked there.

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Spider-Man rights suit precluded by earlier decisions, Pa. federal judge rules

From Westlaw Journal Intellectual Property: Stan Lee Media Inc. and a Pennsylvania theater cannot pursue claims concerning ownership of intellectual property rights in the Spider-Man character because four other lawsuits have already decided the issue, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed claims by Entertainment Theatre Group, which does business as the American Music Theatre, and intervenor Stan Lee Media Inc., that the media company owned the character rights and could license them to the theater.

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USC football player with concussion forced to play while ill, suit alleges

 From Westlaw Journal Entertainment Industry: A former University of Southern California football player has alleged in a state court lawsuit that the school and its coaching staff recklessly forced him to play after he had suffered a concussion and while he had a high fever.

As a result of the defendants’ allegedly negligent conduct, Brian Baucham has suffered cardiopulmonary damage and a brain injury for which he will require continuing medical care and which has diminished his future earning capacity, according to the Los Angeles County Superior Court complaint.

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Mexican agency accuses medical device company of $8.7 million bribery scheme

From Westlaw Journal Health Care Fraud: A Mexican agency responsible for providing medical care to the country’s citizens has alleged in a federal court complaint that a Texas-based medical device company, has paid bribes to Mexican officials to sell more of the company’s products.

Orthofix International has netted $4.9 million in profits on the $8.7 million in sales it made as a result of the illegal bribes, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social claims in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

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Supreme Court hears argument on appellate review standard in patent cases

From Westlaw Journal Intellectual Property: The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument Oct. 15 regarding the level of deference that should be given to a trial court’s findings of fact in support of its claim construction of patent terms.

The question before the justices is whether an appeals court should review the findings de novo, without deference to the lower court’s findings — the standard followed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit — or only for clear error, as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a).

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Claim construction is the process by which a court defines the claims of patents.  It is a foundational question of patent litigation because a finding of infringement or invalidity of a patent ultimately depends on how the claims are construed, Teva Pharmaceuticals said in its petition to the high court.

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Inequitable conduct invalidates patent, Ohio federal judge finds

From Westlaw Journal Intellectual Property: A federal judge has ruled that a company that sued an Ohio manufacturer for patent infringement engaged in inequitable conduct, rendering its patent unenforceable.

U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost of the Southern District of Ohio said defendant ALPS South LLC was entitled to judgment and ordered plaintiff Ohio Willow Wood Co. to pay a significant portion of ALPS’ attorney fees.

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Supreme Court revives POM Wonderful’s unfair-competition claims against Coca-Cola

From Westlaw Journal Intellectual Property: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that juice company POM Wonderful’s unfair-competition claims against Coca-Cola Co. under the federal Lanham Act were not precluded by another federal law, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The decision revives POM’s lawsuit following a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirming that the FDCA and its regulations preclude Lanham Act challenges to food labels.  POM Wonderful LLC v. Coca-Cola Co., 679 F.3d 1170 (9th Cir. 2012).

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NCAA, pro leagues urge Supreme Court to reject petition over N.J. sports gambling law

From Westlaw Journal Entertainment: The nation’s highest court should not review a ruling that said New Jersey’s sports gambling law was preempted by a federal statute that bans betting on sports in most states, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and four major professional sports leagues contend.

The sports leagues are opposing a petition for review filed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and state officials, who say the federal statute wrongly overrides states’ regulatory authority.

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Supreme Court adopts new standard for patent invalidity

From Westlaw Journal Intellectual Property: The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s “insolubly ambiguous” standard for assessing the invalidity of a patent did not satisfy the requirements of the Patent Act, and formulated its own standard.

The high court said in its unanimous June 2 decision that the Federal Circuit’s “amorphous” standard did not meet the Patent Act’s definiteness requirement, 35 U.S.C. § 112, which says a patent must include one or more claims “particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the applicant regards as the invention.”

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Whistleblowers aid recovery of $2.8 million from physical therapy clinics

From Westlaw Journal Health Care Fraud: Two operators of physical therapy clinics in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., area have agreed to pay $2.78 million to settle claims by the federal government that they defrauded Medicare.

The fraud committed by Alliance Rehabilitation LLC, Active Physical Therapy Services LLC and their owners was brought to light by two former employees of the clinics, according to attorneys for the whistleblowers, Kathya Angel and Alexis Natal.

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