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Relator's Attorneys Comment On AtriCure/DOJ Proposed Settlement
Date:11/4/2009

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 /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 reached a tentative settlement agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in a qui tam case filed in 2007 for $3.8 million plus interest over a five-year period.

Sanford Wittels & Heisler and Grant Morris represent the relator in the case against AtriCure, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The complaint charges that AtriCure violated the Federal False Claims Act by using illegal kickbacks and an off-label marketing campaign to induce physicians and hospitals to perform AtriCure's costly inpatient cardiac surgical ablation procedures over standard, and more effective, outpatient catheter ablation procedures. As a result, the Medicare program has faced substantial increased costs from AtriCure's unnecessary and expensive procedures.

"AtriCure has done the right thing by settling this case before an onslaught of negative publicity surrounding the DOJ investigation," said David Sanford, co-lead counsel in the matter against AtriCure.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that AtriCure enticed hospitals to purchase its products by promoting the spread between Medicare reimbursement for AtriCure's surgical ablation procedure and the relatively low cost to the hospital itself. AtriCure further provided physicians and hospitals with kickbacks, including free equipment; price discounts; free advertising, marketing, and referral services; and extensive training for surgeons performing AtriCure procedures.

"This settlement allows us to focus on the remaining three companies under investigation: St. Jude Medical, Boston Scientific, and Medtronic," said Grant Morris, co-lead counsel in the AtriCure qui tam case.

The tentative agreemen
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SOURCE Sanford Wittels & Heisler, LLP
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