Toll Free Local Florida Injury Lawyer Blog Home
whistleblower

Whistleblowers Make Millions in Federal Judgements With Qui Tam Cases

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Qui Tam

Whistleblower cases are civil lawsuits brought to collect money that has been fraudulently billed to the United States for excessive billing for . . .

• Medicare
• Medicaid
• Defense contractors
• Housing subsidies
• Environmental cleanup
• And many other types of financial abuse of taxpayers’ money

Whistleblower cases, also known as Qui Tam cases, fall under the False Claims Act; they begin when a person has learned that a fraud has been committed against the United States and decides to “blow the whistle” on its perpetrators.

Qui Tam cases are commonly resolved by settlement without the need to go to trial. A whistleblower case typically settles, with the wrongdoers having to pay up to three times the amount of money they have stolen from the government. Whistleblowers are entitled to receive a percentage of the recovered money as a reward for turning in wrongdoers; depending on the size of the recovery, the reward is often millions of dollars.

FIRST STEP IN A WHISTLEBLOWER CASE: HIRE A LAWYER

Calling an experienced whistleblower lawyer is the first and most important step anyone can take after uncovering a fraud against the government. Whistleblower cases are extremely complex, with nuances that can make or break a successful case.

Since not all lawyers have experience in this area of the law, it is important to spend considerable time finding a lawyer who has both the experience and track record in successfully prosecuting these types of cases.

SECOND STEP: FILE THE LAWSUIT UNDER SEAL

Once the appropriate information is obtained, a lawsuit is filed secretly in Federal Court “under seal,” meaning that only the Justice Department and its lawyers are aware of the claim so that they can investigate the allegations without alerting the suspects.

Typically cases are filed under seal for up to 60 days. However, judges will commonly extend that time frame to allow the Justice Department to review the file to determine if they want to participate in the investigation. Our Miami false claims lawyers work side by side with the Justice Department’s lawyers to assist them in their investigation and maximize their chances of success.

It is not required that the whistleblower’s lawyers work with the Department of Justice lawyers as the False Claims act does permit individuals to pursue such matters with only their own attorneys. However, we have found that if the government decides to join an individual’s case, the chances of success are far greater. Historically, the United States intervenes or joins in only a very small number of whistleblower cases every year, selecting only those that pose the greatest chances of success or have the potential for multi-million-dollar recovery. When the United States joins a private whistleblower case, that collaboration is known as Federal intervention.

STEP THREE: THE REWARD

The person who brings the whistleblower suit is known as a “relater,” and if the case is settled, the relater is entitled to a reward ranging from 15% to 25% of the recovery if the United States Justice Department intervenes or prosecutes the case. However, if the United States attorneys refuse to get involved and we proceed with the case without their assistance, the whistleblower is rewarded with between 25% and 30% of the amount recovered.

FREE WHISTLEBLOWER CONSULTATION

If you believe you have uncovered a case where our federal tax dollars have been fraudulently over billed through Medicare, Medicaid, or any other scenario, contact our Florida whistleblower lawyers today for a free initial consultation regarding your potential rights. You may be entitled to a multi-million dollar reward.

Our lawyers are experienced in representing individuals and in working directly with the United States Assistant Attorneys in the successful investigation and prosecution of these crimes. Call us today toll free at 1-866-597-4529 or email me, Spencer Aronfeld, for a free and confidential consultation.

large

Virginity for a Keychain? Child Beaten on Cruise Ship at Port Everglades

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

Port Everglades is one of the world’s busiest and most successful cruise ship ports. Located just south of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, technically it borders the municipalities of Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, and Dania Beach, just a short taxi ride from Fort Lauderdale Airport.
When Port Everglades opened in 1928, it was considered an important seaport for South Florida’s then burgeoning agricultural industry. Over the last nearly 100 years, it has evolved into a major commercial container ship and passenger cruise ship port.

Port Everglades processed over 4 million passengers in 2014, which is over 120,000 people a day. Since 2003, Port Everglades has held the record among world ports for most cruise ships docked in a single day, with 15 different cruise ships having docked there one day that year. The Port of Barcelona, Spain, nearly beat it in 2011 when it hosted 9 ships. In third place is the Port of Miami, which is located about 45 minutes south down I-95, when it recorded its record number of passenger ships in 2011 with 8 dockings.
Port Everglades serves as a port for 15 different cruise lines, most notably Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Holland America, and Princess. A few niche super luxury cruise lines also avail themselves of Port Everglades, such as Silversea and Seabourn. With such a heavy volume of passengers, it should come as no surprise that troubling incidents involving those passengers do occur from time to time.

Virginity for a Keychain

It appears that on August 17th just such an incident occurred. According to the Sun Sentinel, a 13-year-old passenger was attacked onboard the RCCL cruise ship Independence of the Seas by a fellow passenger, an Ohio man, who claimed that the child had offered to purchase the virginity of his niece in exchange for a keychain.
The suspect, Arturo Martinez, Jr., 30, of Toledo, Ohio, was arrested by Broward County Sherriff’s as soon as the ship docked at Port Everglades. Martinez also took off his own shirt, the boy said, as if preparing to fight. He then grabbed the boy by the throat and forced the boy face-down onto a couch, investigators said.

Untitled

Arturo Martinez

The boy has since identified Mr. Martinez from a photographic lineup, and detectives have already viewed the ship’s CCTV surveillance video, which corroborates the victim’s story. Mr. Martinez now faces criminal charges of child abuse without great bodily harm, assault, battery, and false imprisonment of a child. His bond is set at $17,100.
When criminal batteries and sexual attacks befall passengers on cruise ships, it is important not only to preserve the evidence for the criminal prosecution of the attacker, but also to analyze the potential civil liability for the cruise line.

Legal Duty to Protect

Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean have a legal duty to protect their passengers from harm, which includes physical attacks by crew members, other passengers, and third parties.
Not all passenger assaults are preventable or foreseeable. Sadly, many parents let down their guard when on cruise vacations, and allow their children to roam the ships unsupervised, mistakenly believing that cruise ships are safer than everyday life wherever in the world they may be from. In reality, cruise ships are essentially floating international cities, with passengers, crew members, and others from around the world roaming the bars, pools, libraries, and hallways at all hours of the day and night.
I have investigated dozens of passenger assault cases, including many involving minors. Inevitably the injuries occur outside the watchful eye of adult supervision. I have not seen the evidence in this particular incident, but it would be important to know how long the altercation lasted and what RCCL knew, or should have known about it, in order to have foreseen and prevented this tragedy. For instance, it is very important to know how many security personnel the ship had on staff and on duty at the time of this incident.

Consult with an Experienced Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been injured aboard an RCCL cruise ship or on other cruise line, it is important to consult immediately with an experienced cruise ship assault and battery attorney. Evidence such as the CCTV footage, witness statements, and medical records is crucial in understanding how or if the cruise line can be held accountable for failing to protect and provide adequate security for its passengers.
We offer free initial consultations to anyone who has a potential claim against RCCL or any other cruise line, via email, telephone toll free at 1-866-597-4529, or SKYPE. Contact us today to speak to an experienced lawyer who knows how to hold the cruise lines accountable when they put their profits ahead of their passengers’ safety.

cruise

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Record Breaking Year

Written by admin on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is having a very good year, with new ships and record-breaking profits. Based in the Port of Miami, the company reported nearly $200 million in net income, up over 34% from just last year. With RCCL’s projected $8 billion in revenue for 2015, it is easy to understand why this cruise line is spending big money on promotions, new mega ships, and outrageous onboard activities like ice skating rinks, surfing, and skydiving simulators.
Perhaps RCCL’s profits reflect the enormous amount of marketing and advertising that RCCL undertakes to lure passengers aboard, not only in the United States but in China as well. In fact, RCCL’s Quantum of the Seas is now home ported in Shanghai. RCCL also owns a number of other cruise lines, such as Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, and several niche European cruise lines, such as Spain’s Pullmantur and France’s CDF, or Croisieres de France.

Royal Caribbean Launches New High End Cruise Ships

One of the market segments that RCCL may be losing is high-income passengers who do not want the mega ship experience but prefer the more intimate and luxurious accommodations traditionally found on higher-end cruise ships like Regent’s Seven Seas. To cater to more upscale passengers, who demand more sumptuous and contemporary surroundings, RCCL recently announced plans to unveil its Royal Suite Class program next May on its four largest ships: Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas. This first-class service will also be available on RCCL’s soon-to-be-launched Harmony of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas.

Three New Service Levels: Butlers Included

According to RCCL, the Royal Suite Class comprises three service levels based on the category of the passenger’s cabin, which they are calling Star Class, Sky Class, and Sea Class. Star Class cabins will include luxury suites with two-deck-high lofts, 24-hour butler-style “Royal Genie” service, free internet, and specialty dining and food packages. These cabins will also include ultra-luxury amenities made by Hermes, Ferragamo, and Frette.
The Royal Genie service is particularly interesting as the crew members providing it will be specially certified by something called the British Butler Institute, to provide service 24 hours a day. These butlers will be there to make dinner reservations, book shore excursions, and shine shoes.

New Ships, Same Passenger Contract

Regardless of where RCCL takes its cruise line, the passenger contracts will most likely contain the same language, hidden deep in the legal mumbo jumbo that most people never read or understand until after they have been involved in some kind of accident, incident, or injury while on a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship. That language requires that any claim against RCCL be initiated in Federal Court in Miami, Florida, within one year of the date of the incident, regardless of where in the world the accident may have occurred or where the passenger is from.

Cruise Ship Attorneys Holding Cruise Lines Accountable

Our law firm investigates hundreds of cases every year against the major cruise lines, such as RCCL, on behalf of people who have slipped, tripped and fallen, or suffered other types of injuries while on a cruise. We have nearly 50 years of combined legal experience in holding cruise lines accountable for passenger claims for lost wages, medical expense, and pain and suffering. Cruise ship accident cases are unique and are subject to multiple differing Federal, State, and International laws. Understanding how the laws apply to a certain set of facts as well as whether or not there is even a viable claim is important and requires access to crucial evidence, such as CCTV footage, medical records and diagnostic studies, nautical data, and marine engineering standards.
Cruise lines like RCCL employ a team of skilled and experienced admiralty injury lawyers in their Port of Miami offices who know how to defend and minimize any potential personal injury claim. Injured passengers also need aggressive and skilled advocates to protect their legal rights.

Free Consultation For Any Injured Cruise Ship Passenger

If you have sustained an injury or experienced an incident aboard an RCCL cruise ship, we recommend that you contact our offices and speak to one of our attorneys today. We provide free initial legal consultations via FACETIME, SKYPE, or phone toll free, at 1-866-597-4529 or email us at: intake@aronfeld.com. Involving our law firm as soon as possible will make a significant difference in whether or not potential clients can obtain the full value of their claims. We certainly recommend that you consult with our firm before speaking to a representative of RCCL, signing any documents, or even attempting to negotiate a claim.