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United States ex rel. Dicken v. Northwest Eye Center, P.A.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

June 14, 2018

United States of America, ex rel., and Robert A. Dicken, Relator, Plaintiffs,
v.
Northwest Eye Clinic, P.A., Christopher J. Borgen, and Eric M. Tjelle, Defendants.

          Frederick L. Neff, Neff Law Firm, P.A., Chad A. Blumenfield and Pamela Marentette, counsel for plaintiffs.

          Alex Herman, Garth J. Unke, and Kirsten J. Hansen, Stich Angell Kreidler Unke & Scattergood P.A., counsel for defendants.

          ORDER

          Katherine Menendez United States Magistrate Judge

         Introduction

         This discovery dispute arises out of a qui tam case involving Medicare billing fraud. The relator, Dr. Dicken, alleges that the Defendants, Dr. Borgen, Dr. Tjelle, and their employer Northwest Eye Clinic, P.A. (collectively, “Northwest”), submitted fraudulent claims to be paid by Medicare, including running unnecessary tests, billing for more complex services than actually rendered, and requiring patients to return frequently for unnecessary appointments.

         Procedural Background

         Dr. Dicken moved to compel discovery of the majority of his outstanding Requests for Production (“RFP”) and Requests for Admission, arguing that Northwest had not fully responded to his discovery requests. He also moved for sanctions against Northwest, its attorneys, or both. Northwest responded that the majority of Dr. Dicken's requests were overly broad, unduly burdensome, and irrelevant to the case. In addition, Northwest expressed concern that some of the requests were unclear.

         At the hearing, the Court worked with counsel for Dr. Dicken to identify six discovery disputes currently at issue:

(1) whether discovery should be limited to the time frame of October 2007 to June 2014, or should continue until the date of trial;
(2) the appropriate scope of discovery of the patient charts and files for Medicare patients;
(3) the appropriate scope of discovery of Medicare billing and payment information from Northwest;
(4) whether Northwest had fully and properly responded to Dr. Dicken's request for communications relating to fraud or billing to and from “financial intermediaries”;
(5) the appropriate scope of discovery regarding Medicare patient financial records and ...

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