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Landmark Victory

United States ex rel. Tyson v. Amerigroup Illinois, Inc., 488 F. Supp. 2d 719 (N.D. Ill 2007) 

Goldberg Kohn represented whistleblower Cleveland Tyson against Amerigroup, Illinois Inc. and Amerigroup Corporation in a lawsuit that alleged violations of the False Claims Act and the Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act. Mr. Tyson alleged that the insurer denied benefits to certain pregnant women even though it was receiving payment from the state to provide the services as part of the government-subsidized Medicaid program.

Mr. Tyson turned to Goldberg Kohn in 2005 recognizing that his case needed the resources of a larger firm. With the greater resources of the firm, attorneys David Chizewer and Fred Cohen were able to develop additional evidence.  This gained the interest of the government lawyers, even though they had declined earlier to work on the matter.

"One of the things we have focused on is taking cases the government might decline.  Many large cases need the resources of a firm like ours," said Cohen. "The U.S. Attorney's Offices don't always have all the resources they would like to have, and therefore can't take on every case they would like to take on."

After a four-week jury trial, led by Fred Cohen and David Chizewer, Goldberg Kohn obtained the largest jury award in the history of these statutes. The total judgment was for $334 million on behalf of the United States and the State of Illinois. The case was settled for $225 million while Amerigroup's appeal was pending during the summer of 2008.

"It's especially gratifying to be able to achieve a victory for our client Cleveland Tyson, to demonstrate that his allegations had merit," said Cohen.

Goldberg Kohn lawyers Fred Cohen and David Chizewer received wide recognition for their work on this case. They jointly received the "Trial Lawyer of the Year" award from both the Public Justice Foundation and Taxpayers Against Fraud, were named among the "Top Ten Litigators" by the National Law Journal, and were appointed by the National Advocacy Center of the United States Department of Justice to train Assistant United States Attorneys on trial skills.

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