I am writing to correct several significant factual misstatements in a Modern Healthcare article regarding the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in United States v. Tuomey Healthcare System (“Mixed outcome for Tuomey,” April 9, p. 16). I was one of the attorneys who represented Tuomey in this appeal.
The article inaccurately describes the judgment vacated by the 4th Circuit as having been “a jury verdict.” It was not. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Tuomey on the only claim presented to it. The jury verdict was that Tuomey did not violate the False Claims Act. The district judge granted the government's post-trial motion for a new trial on the False Claims Act claim. The district judge—not the jury—incorrectly imposed judgment on the government's equitable theories of recovery based upon the jury's answer to a special interrogatory regarding the Stark law. The 4th Circuit held that this interrogatory answer was a nullity and, consequently, that the judgment violated Tuomey's constitutional rights. The $45 million-plus judgment was set aside in its entirety.