A recent federal court decision in New York sheds light on one of the biggest concerns of any employee or former employee who suspects their employer may be engaging in wrongdoing: When can a whistleblower use confidential records to show a company’s misbehavior?
In U.S. ex rel. Ortiz and Gaston vs. Mount Sinai Hospital et al., the district court judge noted that “there is a strong public policy in favor of protecting those who report fraud against the government.”
The hospital and its co-defendants had tried to get the qui tam case dismissed, partially on the grounds that the whistleblowers supposedly had improperly obtained hospital billing records to support their qui tam complaint.
The court rejected that argument by the hospital in its Nov. 9 ruling, recognizing that the public benefits from whistleblowers and they should be protected. This is great news for those who have increasingly been subjected to legal claims for reporting information to the government, attacks that undermine the False Claims Act.