Newly unsealed court documents related to an alleged kickback scheme that Abiomed (NSDQ:ABMD) agreed to settle last week for $3 million revealed claims of retaliation against the whistleblower in the case.
The plaintiff-relator in the case, Max Bennett, accused the Danvers, Mass.-based company of firing him in retaliation for speaking out on the allegations that the company wined and dined physicians to encourage them to use its Impella heart pump, according to court documents.
“Shortly after Relator raised questions about Abiomed’s non-compliance with federal law, Abiomed’s management questioned Relator regarding his prior employment with Biotronik Inc. (a pacemaker company) and the reasons why he had left. During the course of these discussions, it became obvious to Relator that Abiomed’s superiors believed that he had been a whistleblower at his previous company, and therefore assumed that he would blow the whistle against Abiomed. Abiomed then retaliated against Relator by firing him on November 14, 2012, in violation of both federal and Massachusetts law,” unsealed court documents read.
Last week, federal prosecutors said that Abiomed agreed to pay $3 million to settle the case.
The U.S. Justice Dept. said that Danvers-based Abiomed agreed to settle the allegations for $3.1 million after a whistleblower’s lawsuit accused the company of buying meals for doctors “at some of the country’s most expensive restaurants, including Menton in Boston, Nobu in Los Angeles, Spago in Beverly Hills, and Eleven Madison Park in New York City.”