On September 8, 2023, Goldberg Kohn's Litigation Chair David Chizewer appeared on NBC News4Tucson to comment on the recent $4.25 million that Watermark Retirement Communities, Inc., a senior housing operator that manages more than 65 retirement communities in 21 states, agreed to pay to settle a whistleblower lawsuit. The suit alleged that Watermark had illegally sold patient referrals to BAYADA Home Health Care, Inc. through the guise of a sale to BAYADA of two failing home health agencies for $1.9 million.
Mr. Chizewer also said in the interview that he hopes this [settlement] "sends a message to any other companies to stay away from kickbacks."
The whistleblower lawsuit was filed in New Jersey federal court by David Freedman, BAYADA's former Director of Strategic Growth. Mr. Freedman is represented by Goldberg Kohn's David Chizewer and David Morrison. His lawsuit, which is still ongoing as to other defendants, was filed under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which encourages private citizens to report fraud against the government by allowing them to sue on behalf of the government and receive a share of any recovery. The False Claims Act also allows the government to join and prosecute such lawsuits, as the Department of Justice did in this case in connection with the claims against BAYADA and Watermark.