Barry Cohen, one of the most high profile attorneys in the Tampa Bay area, is being sued by a company who says that he used confidential information in a whistleblower case against them, leading to a second whistleblower case.
In a court filing submitted on March 28 in Hillsborough County’s 13th Judicial Circuit, Rose Radiology says it is suing Cohen and his law firm for malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and damages.
Rose Radiology is a provider of radiology services and has offices in multiple locations in the Tampa Bay area. In February, it agreed to pay $8.71 million to the government to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by billing federal health care programs for radiology procedures that were not medically necessary or furnished in violation of applicable Federal regulations. The company never admitted wrongdoing, however, saying that it decided to settle rather than spending millions litigating the federal government.
Cohen disputes the charges, according to a report in another Tampa daily. His office never returned this reporter’s request for comment Monday morning. SaintPetersBlog delayed publication of this story on Monday awaiting a response, which never came.
According to the lawsuit filed last week against Cohen, Rose Radiology says it was in March of 2013 that they received a subpoena from the Department of Defense regarding a whistleblower complaint related to Tricare reimbursements. Tricare is the healthcare plan for active duty military members, retirees, eligible National Guard and Reserve service members
Dr. Manuel Rose, the CEO of Rose Radiology, then obtained legal counsel, but also was interested in hiring Cohen, who the suit says advertises that “The Barry A. Cohen Legal Team is your best defense against False Claims, qui tam, criminal defense, and commercial & civil litigation.”
He then asked Rose to send him a copy of the DOD subpeona.
Rose says he never heard back from Cohen.
Two months later, however, Rose Radiology learned that a New York law firm named Milberg had begun contacting former Rose Radiology employees, in an effort to find someone to file a lawsuit against Rose.
Finally in August of 2013, Rose Radiology received the first whistleblower complaint that referenced the original DOD subpoena. It was called the Schimke Complaint.
Six months after the Rose conversation with Cohen, Rose Radiology received a second whistleblower complaint.
“When they finally received a complaint from the Milberg,” the suit says, “they saw that the employee pursuing the new, second whistleblower complaint was a woman named Katrina Miller, who was being represented by Cohen. Upon reading the allegations contained in the Miller Complaint, it became apparent to Rose Radiology that many of the pointed questions Attomey Cohen asked of Dr. Rose during the Confidential Conversation was not for the purposes of defending Rose Radiology. Rather, the questions were for the purpose of obtaining information from Rose Radiology to determine if there were other potential causes of action a relater could potentially assert against Rose Radiology through a second qui Iam action.”