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United States ex rel. Luiz v. United States

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

March 23, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE STATES OF NORTH CAROLINA, CALIFORNIA, ILLINOIS ex rel. SCARLETT LUTZ, KAYLA WEBSTER, DR. MICHAEL MAYES AND CHRIS RIEDEL, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Intervenor - Appellee, and BLUEWAVE HEALTHCARE CONSULTANTS, INC.; FLOYD CALHOUN DENT, III; ROBERT BRADFORD JOHNSON, Defendants-Appellants, and HEALTH DIAGNOSTIC LABORATORY INC.; SINGULEX INC.; LABORATORY CORPORATION OF AMERICA HOLDINGS; PHILIPPE J. GOIX, PhD; BERKELEY HEARTLAB, INC.; LATONYA MALLORY; QUEST DIAGNOSTICS, INCORPORATED, Defendants, and BLUE EAGLE FARMING, LLC; EAGLE RAY INVESTMENTS, LLC; FORSE INVESTMENTS, LLC; CHRISTINA M. DENT; LAKELIN PINES, LLC; TRINI "D" ISLAND, LLC; WAR-HORSE PROPERTIES, LLLP, Parties-in-Interest. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE STATES OF NORTH CAROLINA, CALIFORNIA, ILLINOIS ex rel. SCARLETT LUTZ, KAYLA WEBSTER, DR. MICHAEL MAYES AND CHRIS RIEDEL, Plaintiff, and BLUE EAGLE FARMING, LLC; EAGLE RAY INVESTMENTS, LLC; FORSE INVESTMENTS, LLC; WAR-HORSE PROPERTIES, LLLP, Parties-in-Interest - Appellants,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Intervenor - Appellee, and BLUEWAVE HEALTHCARE CONSULTANTS, INC.; FLOYD CALHOUN DENT, III; ROBERT BRADFORD JOHNSON; HEALTH DIAGNOSTIC LABORATORY INC.; SINGULEX INC.; LABORATORY CORPORATION OF AMERICA HOLDINGS; PHILIPPE J. GOIX, PhD; BERKELEY HEARTLAB, INC.; LATONYA MALLORY; QUEST DIAGNOSTICS, INCORPORATED, Defendants, and CHRISTINA M. DENT; LAKELIN PINES, LLC; TRINI "D" ISLAND, LLC, Parties-in-Interest. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE STATES OF NORTH CAROLINA, CALIFORNIA, ILLINOIS ex rel. SCARLETT LUTZ, KAYLA WEBSTER, DR. MICHAEL MAYES AND CHRIS RIEDEL, Plaintiff, and CHRISTINA M. DENT; LAKELIN PINES, LLC; TRINI "D" ISLAND, LLC, Parties-in-Interest - Appellants,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Intervenor - Appellee, and BLUEWAVE HEALTHCARE CONSULTANTS, INC.; FLOYD CALHOUN DENT, III; ROBERT BRADFORD JOHNSON; HEALTH DIAGNOSTIC LABORATORY INC.; SINGULEX INC.; LABORATORY CORPORATION OF AMERICA HOLDINGS; PHILIPPE J. GOIX, PhD; BERKELEY HEARTLAB, INC.; LATONYA MALLORY; QUEST DIAGNOSTICS, INCORPORATED, Defendants, and BLUE EAGLE FARMING, LLC; EAGLE RAY INVESTMENTS, LLC; FORSE INVESTMENTS, LLC; WAR-HORSE PROPERTIES, LLLP, Parties-in-Interest.

          Argued: January 26, 2017

         Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, at Beaufort. Richard M. Gergel, District Judge. (9:14-cv-00230-RMG)

         ARGUED:

          Morris Dawes Cooke, Jr., BARNWELL WHALEY PATTERSON & HELMS, L.L.C., Charleston, South Carolina; Thomas Parker Gressette, Jr., PRATT-THOMAS WALKER, PA, Charleston, South Carolina; Nekki Shutt, CALLISON, TIGHE & ROBINSON, LLC, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellants.

          Henry Charles Whitaker, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          Joseph P. Griffith, Jr., JOE GRIFFITH LAW FIRM, LLC, Charleston, South Carolina; Bradley B. Banias, BARNWELL WHALEY PATTERSON & HELMS, L.L.C., Charleston, South Carolina, for Appellants

          BlueWave Healthcare Consultants, Inc., Floyd Calhoun Dent, III, and Robert Bradford Johnson. John P. Linton, Jr., PRATT-THOMAS WALKER, PA, Charleston, South Carolina, for Appellants

          Blue Eagle Farming, LLC, Eagle Ray Investments, LLC, Forse Investments, LLC, and War-Horse Properties, LLLP. Louis H. Lang, Jacqueline M. Pavlicek, CALLISON, TIGHE & ROBINSON, LLC, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellants

          Christina M. Dent, Lakelin Pines, LLC, and Trini "D" Island, LLC. Benjamin C. Mizer, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Michael S. Raab, Civil Division, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C.; Beth Drake, Acting United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellee.

          Before GREGORY, Chief Judge, and DUNCAN and FLOYD, Circuit Judges.

          DUNCAN, Circuit Judge

         Appellants challenge the district court's denial of their motions to quash writs of attachment against real and personal property and writs of garnishment against two bank accounts. Because we conclude that the denial is an unreviewable interlocutory order, we dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.

         I.

         A.

         In 2010, Floyd Calhoun Dent III ("Dent") and Robert Bradford Johnson ("Johnson") founded BlueWave Healthcare Consultants, Inc. ("BlueWave"), which served as the exclusive marketing agent for two blood test laboratories, Health Diagnostic Laboratories, Inc. ("HDL") and Singulex. BlueWave operated pursuant to substantially similar sales agreements with both labs. Under the sales agreements, HDL and Singulex agreed to pay BlueWave a monthly base fee as well as commissions ranging between 13.8% and 24% of all lab revenue generated in BlueWave's sales territory.[1] The labs would also pay a physician a "processing and handling fee" between $10 and $20 if the physician chose HDL or Singulex to process blood work. After performing the blood tests, the labs billed insurance companies--including federally funded insurance programs Medicare and TRICARE--for reimbursement.[2]

         B.

         In 2014, two relators filed a qui tam action against Johnson, Dent, and BlueWave (collectively, "BlueWave Defendants"), and the United States intervened in April 2015.[3]The government alleged that BlueWave Defendants violated the Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b ("AKS"), and False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq. ("FCA"). An AKS violation that results in a federal health care payment is a per se false claim under the FCA. 42 U.S.C. ยง 1320a-7b(g). According to the government's complaint, BlueWave Defendants, acting as sales agents on ...


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