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Relator's Attorneys Comment on AtriCure/DOJ Settlement
Date:2/2/2010

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanford Wittels & Heisler, LLP, along with co-counsel Grant Morris, announced today that AtriCure, Inc., a medical device company specializing in cardiac surgical ablation systems, has executed a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services for $3.8 million plus interest over a five-year period. Sanford Wittels & Heisler filed that qui tam matter in 2007.

According to the DOJ press release today, this settlement with AtriCure is part of the government's emphasis on combating health care fraud. One of the most powerful tools in that effort is the False Claims Act, which the Justice Department has used to recover approximately 2.2 billion since January 2009 in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs.  

The qui tam or whistle blower provisions of the False Claims Act permit private citizens, called "relators," to bring lawsuits on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of proceeds of any settlement or judgment.  The relator who filed the case against Atricure will receive a total of $625,000 as the statutory share of the current settlement.  

Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, noted today in a DOJ press release that the settlement with Atricure resulted from a coordinated effort by the Justice Department's Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas, the Department of Health and Human Services
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SOURCE Sanford Wittels & Heisler, LLP
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