|Whistleblower attorney in the act|
of filing a sealed writ of
Medicaid fraud in child welfare
Well, here is another one.
To be honest, I believe the Judge should dismiss the case, without prejudice, as it was not properly filed.
Why? Because this should have been filed, under seal, as a False Claims case as it deals with Medicaid funding.
Since we all know the States Attorney General are constrained from going after Medicaid fraud in child welfare, the only other venue to pursue legal recourse would be federal.
To the attorneys on the case, go forth and proceed with the writ!
(My apologies for not pulling the complaint. I have been a bit busy, lately.)
Visiting Senior Judge William Nalitz from Greene County heard arguments Thursday from lawyers representing former Common Pleas Judge Debbie O’Dell Seneca and two other defendants who were sued by former juvenile probation officer David Scrip.
Mr. Scrip, 54, of Carroll, alleges he was unlawfully fired by Judge O’Dell Seneca after reporting a relationship between his former supervisor and a woman who worked as a placement officer for a treatment center for juvenile offenders.
Mr. Scrip claims he and other probation officers were pressured by Daniel Clements, his superior and the former chief probation officer of Washington County, to recommend placement for juveniles at Abraxas Youth and Family Services, where Mr. Clements’ girlfriend worked.
After he reported his concerns, Mr. Scrip said he was retaliated against and eventually fired by Judge O’Dell Seneca and Thomas Jess, the former director of the county’s probation services department.
“He worked in the juvenile probation department for 25 years and was never disciplined until the last 18 months, when he was written up three times then fired,” said Noah Geary, Mr. Scrip’s lawyer.
Along with former Judge O’Dell Seneca, Mr. Scrip sued Mr. Jess and Mr. Clements, neither of whom remain employed by the county. Judge O’Dell Seneca retired in January 2015, shortly after being stripped of her administrative duties when other judges complained to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, which oversees the judiciary.
Mr. Scrip initially filed a lawsuit in federal court, but it was dismissed last year, prompting Mr. Geary to seek relief from the state court.
Judge O’Dell Seneca’s lawyer, Caroline Liebenguth and Robert Grimm, the lawyer representing the county, Mr. Jess and Mr. Clements, argued that their clients were immune from lawsuits as members of the state judiciary and under provisions in the state constitution.
“His client has no cause of action,” Mr. Grimm told the court. “The case should be dismissed.”
But Mr. Geary argued the suit shouldn’t be dismissed because the defendants were sued in their private capacity.
He also cited the code of conduct for judicial officers, revamped in 2011 after the “Kids for Cash” scandal in Luzerne County, in which two judges were accused of being paid to send juvenile offenders to certain facilities. According to the new code, court employees have “a duty to report wrongdoing without fear of reprisal,” Mr. Geary said.
Judge Nalitz is expected to rule within a month.
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