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New Year. New Name. New Firm.

Tue 9th Feb 2021, Blog

It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams LLP.  The new name reflects the contributions made by John Littrell and Michael Williams in elevating our practice as one of Southern California’s top boutique trial firms. John and Mike are veteran trial lawyers who have litigated hundreds of high-profile and complex cases, yielding outstanding results for their clients.  Both have been recognized by their peers as among the best …

Annual Bankruptcy Filings Decline in 2020—Will We See a Surge in 2021 and Beyond?

Wed 3rd Feb 2021, Blog

Despite high rates of unemployment and on-again-off-again business closures due to the pandemic, total annual bankruptcy filings in 2020 fell 29.7 percent over year prior, according to a report[1] released last Thursday by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Only one category—Chapter 11 filings including 7,561 involving businesses—saw an increase of 19.2 percent. An influx in bankruptcies may only be delayed, however. As noted in the report, an increase in filings following the Great …

Five Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams LLP Attorneys Named 2021 Southern California Super Lawyers

Fri 22nd Jan 2021, Blog

Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams LLP, one of Orange County’s top boutique litigation firms, is proud to announce that five of our firm’s attorneys — Thomas Bienert, Steven Katzman, John Littrell, Michael Williams, and James Riddet — have been chosen for the 2021 Southern California Super Lawyers list. “I’m very pleased that Jim, John, Mike and Steve again have been recognized as Super Lawyers. They are among the most talented lawyers I know, each capable of …

Tissue graft company agrees to pay $6.5 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit focused on sales to the Department of Veterans Affairs

Mon 6th Apr 2020, Blog

A Georgia company that manufactures and sells human tissue grafts agreed to pay $6.5 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act. The case, unsealed last October, settled relatively quickly before the defendant, MiMedx Group Inc. (“MiMedx”), filed a responsive pleading. The qui tam complaint filed by former MiMedx sales representatives alleges that MiMedx falsely represented its commercial sales prices to the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”).  By claiming that it sold …

Important information affecting small businesses in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic

Fri 3rd Apr 2020, Blog

Provisions of CARES Act Likely to Increase Number of Small Business Bankruptcy Filings The recently enacted “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act” (CARES) expands the applicability of the Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA), passed just last year.  As a result: Businesses with less than $7.5 million in debts may proceed under the new subchapter V of chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code; The cost of a chapter 11 reorganization for these qualifying businesses will …

Bankruptcy in a Post COVID-19 Era

Wed 18th Mar 2020, Blog

Dear Colleagues,   With the economy in turmoil due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all of our businesses and practices may be impacted by bankruptcy issues.  The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will likely create a flood of bankruptcies and restructurings as individuals and entities attempt to cope with the resulting financial loss.  There will also be unprecedented legislation addressing the crisis that will require quick interpretation and action.   As bankruptcy litigation practitioners, …

EKRA Creates Risk and Uncertainty for Substance Abuse Treatment Providers

Mon 30th Dec 2019, Blog

As anyone working in health care knows, the industry is a complex minefield of rules.  Federal and state laws regulate referrals between health care providers and violations can carry heavy civil and criminal penalties.  One way to avoid the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) is to stay away from services reimbursed under federal insurance programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare.  The federal AKS doesn’t apply to services that are reimbursed solely by private insurers (however, state …

California legislators set for vote to expand the state’s False Claims Act to false tax claims

Wed 28th Aug 2019, Blog

A bill winding its way through the California legislature seeks to extend the reach of the California False Claims Act.  The bill would amend California Government Code 12651 and 12653 to add claims under the California Revenue and Taxation Code.  The California False Claims Act, as well as its Federal equivalent, are specialized statutes with specific pleading requirements and a robust body of case law.  The IRS, the SEC, and many other Federal and state …

Ninth Circuit Rules that District Court Wrongfully Concluded that Dinosaurs Can’t Be Minerals

Tue 6th Nov 2018, Blog

By Ariana Seldman Hawbecker In 2005, the Murrays bought a Montana ranch from the Seversons.  But the Murrays didn’t transfer everything over.  Instead, the Seversons reserved ownership over two-thirds of the minerals found in, on, or under the land.  A year later, an amateur paleontologist uncovered the fossils of two dinosaurs locked in battle (the “Dueling Dinosaurs”) on the property.  The discovery of other valuable dinosaurs, said to be worth in the millions of dollars, …

16 Billion Dollar Medicare Advantage FCA Case Revived

Thu 13th Sep 2018, Blog

by Ariana Seldman Hawbecker The Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of various claims against several Medicare Advantage Organizations who a whistleblower claims submitted fraudulent health data to the federal government (“CMS”). Anita Silingo, a former employee of Mobile Medical Examination Services, Inc. (“MedXM”), brought claims under the False Claims Act on behalf of the United States Government against MedXM and several Medicare Advantage Organizations.  After MedXM settled the case, the Organizations moved for dismissal of …