When the DEA takes civil action against physicians, dentists, pharmacists, pain management specialists, chiropractors, or any other licensed medical professionals, it will file a lawsuit to recover civil monetary penalties (“CMPs”). CMPs are a means for the federal government to impose punitive fines against you for criminal and civil violations.
The DEA may impose CMPs against healthcare providers for a variety of controlled substance violations such as:
In recent years, the DEA has increased the frequency by which CMPs are issued, especially against DEA registrants for violations of controlled substances prescribing laws.
Generally, the CMPs to be imposed on a healthcare provider come in the form of a letter and are grossly exaggerated in relation to the actual offense. This is because each individual violation is considered a separate and distinct offense for which a maximum statutory penalty may be imposed.
As a result, health care providers often find themselves faced with millions of dollars in fines.
Notification usually comes in the form of a letter from the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) with the caption “civil violations of the Controlled Substance Act” or something to this effect. It also states, “The purpose of this letter is to inform you of your potential civil liability prior to this office filing a civil action in the federal district court.” The letter is signed by a civil attorney with the DOJ or the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The letter also encourages the recipient to obtain counsel and contact the attorney in response to negotiate.
It is imperative that you do not attempt to contact the DOJ or the DEA by yourself. This is a highly complex and technical area of law, and a wrong step could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. You should contact an experienced DEA attorney who has experience defending civil monetary penalty cases against the DEA and DOJ.
Despite frequent exaggerations of CMPs sought by the DOJ and DEA, courts often take a different approach to the calculation of civil monetary penalties, typically resulting in drastically lower fines.
Courts across the country have provided guidance with respect to determining the exact amount of CMPs to impose. Specifically, courts consider four factors when evaluating CMPs:
Each court places a variety of emphasis on each standard in calculating civil monetary penalties and is often evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The result is a great deal of inconsistency as to which factors are most important.
However, what is consistent is the reduction in CMPs our clients are ordered to pay relative to initial allegations — because at Chapman Law Group, our experienced healthcare criminal law attorneys have more than three decades of success in fighting excessive requests for civil monetary penalties.
Receiving notice of a potential civil complaint about controlled substance act violations can be shocking and stressful. However, it is important to remember the penalties sought may be exaggerated and can be negotiated down to a fraction of the maximum penalty.
Should you be faced with CMPs, you should have a team of healthcare-based criminal law attorneys by your side. Our extensive experience in handling the defense of providers who have been ordered to pay civil monetary penalties allows us to fight for you and, if necessary, represent you in federal court to challenge the penalties sought.
For more than three decades, we have provided top legal service for licensed healthcare professionals across the U.S. Our offices are in Detroit, Michigan; Miami and Sarasota, Florida; and Los Angeles/Southern California.
Contact us today and let us put our expertise to work for you.