Crime Pays At Covington LLP: DC White Collar Criminal Law Firm
November 16, 2016
Prominently featured among the high-end designer shops of Ferragamo & Gucci, on 10th Street NW in Washington DC’s $950 million City Center complex, is where you’ll find the slick polished silver name plate with succinct white lettering of Covington atop an elegant glass facade. Rather a clever and unsuspecting way to mask the entrance to Satan’s lair. I envision, at least in my mind, when I send people/companies to Hell, the gates are hot, dark and the way down is paved with a slide of flames, not cool, sterile and on a street that rivals Rodeo Drive.
I had a busy few days in DC, first making friends with FDA, by calling them out for allowing the medical device industry to illegally misappropriate the First Amendment (probably off the FDA Christmas card list this year); and, then on to hanging with Satan’s minions, Associate, Michael M. Maya, Partner Mona Patel & Partner Ethan M. Posner, at Covington LLP, white collar criminal defense attorneys for among others Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). I was, as customary, deposed for my pending case against JNJ. It’s regarding the company’s private health insurance fraud (CA 1871.7) on the same misbranded medical device, the Relieva Stratus Microflow Spacer. The same product and fraud that already cost JNJ $18 million in civil damages from DOJ stemming from Medicaid fraud, where the useless device that fraudulently generated $40 million for JNJ was pulled from the market by FDA, and where two then executives William (Bill) Facteau & Patrick (Pat) Fabian were arrested, indicted, convicted and awaiting sentencing in Boston under Judge Allison D. Burroughs on January 11, 2017.
Medical devices, once cleared by FDA* are considered experimental under Medicare & Medicaid guidelines or CMS guidelines until they’re used successfully in the market without cause (riveting, right?) Simply, FDA knowingly & willingly allows patients to be used as guinea pigs for private health insurance companies who pay doctors for the procedures & hospitals for the devices. Medical device companies make money selling the devices to the hospitals but hospitals won’t buy product unless they know they’re getting reimbursed. What this means in real-world terms is that by the time Medicare & Medicaid are reimbursing for medical devices, private health insurances companies already have been, in most cases, for years. All medical device fraud starts out and continues as financial crime first and one of the more common and tragic side effects is patient harm.
If you ever wonder why your healthcare premiums go up every year with fewer benefits be sure and send a
fuck-you, thank-you note to Johnson & Johnson, Acclarent and the minions of Covington, who need to drag out litigation to pay for their fancy, sterile, spaceship of an office. And don’t forget to send a little love note to the CEO of your private health insurance company who decided that despite overwhelming federal evidence of insurance fraud, opted instead to take a huge bonus while raising your premiums to off-set the financial loss due to medical device fraud, opposed to litigating against medical device companies. It’s easier to raise your premiums than to litigate a slam dunk of a case, where the company could collect millions to billions in damages and pass that on to consumers in the form of lower premiums but, they don’t. Let that sink in for a minute.
So, this CA 1871.7 case against Johnson & Johnson has the company by the proverbial balls, further supported by DOJ fine and executive convictions. This isn’t arrogance it’s fact-based evidence, it’s not a matter of if Johnson & Johnson settles it’s when. Admittedly, I may need to get out more but, this deposition is the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Covington initially sent associate minion Michael Maya and a “bring your daughter to work day” intern or paralegal to depose me on behalf of Johnson & Johnson.
As predicted for two reasons Covington Partners Mona Patel and Ethan Posner would eventually grace us with their presence during my deposition. This is done two fold: the first to try and intimidate and to see if I they could shake me during the deposition. Maya tried, albeit, unsuccessfully to put on a good show ramping up the aggression in his questioning in front for his boss, Posner; but, there is no single greater satisfaction or way to alleviate fear than having the truth on your side. They could not exploit what I did not have, fear. The second reason suspected that the partners joined the deposition is for billing purposes to Johnson & Johnson. One associate and two partners surely must drive up the cost of depositions for clients. The only winner in this case is the one who has a building between Ferragamo & Gucci that’s part of a $950 million dollar complex, in Washington DC, Covington.
The deposition is the closest I’ll ever get to Johnson & Johnson since they’ll NEVER let this case go to trial. They can’t. They’ll run out the clock at the very pricey suggestion of their attorneys who need to keep the lights and air on (in Hell-that’s gotta be quite an air conditioning bill); but, JNJ’s own negative truthful information is so damaging they’ll never risk the public knowing (via discovery exposed at trial) that they were aware of and complicit with fraud and would still be selling the 100% useless device if I hadn’t have come forward and DOJ intervened in the last case.
The deposition ran almost seven hours, and could have been done in no more than three. It’s tough to see Johnson & Johnson as a victim as their role of victimizer is solidified in history, easily replacing the image of baby shampoo for the poster child of The Sociopathic Business Model™. In closing of the deposition I was asked about a few of the posts on the website, if I was really writing a book and did I really trademark The Sociopathic Business Model™ & The MMpiHer Method™ and where else I’d publicly spoken about Johnson & Johnson and the case. I don’t think Covington was happy when I said I just, last week, spoke at FDA Public Hearing on the illegal use of Off-Label Promotion of Medical devices. I’d also suspect they’d not be happy to know mainstream media was there and ready to do a three part series on off-label promotion and guess which company they’ll likely focus on first? Funny, criminals and those that defend them get to misappropriate the First Amendment but they’re less than thrilled when a whistleblower uses the First Amendment for it’s intended purpose.
Pharmaceutical drugs are approved based on scientific fact-based data from clinical trials; and, in sharp and drastic contrast medical devices are cleared by showing a similar device (predicate device) used in a similar way (substantial equivalence) . Quick example: Candy: Cotton Candy & Taffy are BOTH candy making candy the predicate device and that they’re both orally ingested is the substantial equivalence by FDA standards. But because we have knowledge of how candy works we know that if we had a lose crown we would opt for the cotton candy over taffy. The problem is that FDA, employees, surgeons and patients aren’t familiar with the predicate devices or their substantial equivalence, which the medical device industry exploits putting profits before patients.
 My assessment of the young woman paralegal is not meant to demean or insult, she looked young and I’m 44 and as someone who once sold their soul to work for startup sold to conglomerate Acclarent /Johnson & Johnson, let my story serve as a cautionary tale. She still has time to save her soul. Perhaps even Michael Maya can as well, he’s still an associate. Mona Patel, who I’d image does not have it easy in good old boy’s network in DC, sold her soul a long time ago, and I’m guessing Ethan Posner feeds on souls.