Walgreen wins summary judgment on pharmacist's FCA retaliation claim

by Ben Vernia | January 16th, 2012

On January 11, Judge Timothy Cain of the District of South Carolina granted summary judgment to the drug store chain on a former pharmacist’s retaliation claim under the False Claims Act.

The pharmacist alleged that he was constructively discharged after complaining that a procedure he was asked to undertake – a “bin reconciliation” following a computer outage – could result in illegal prescription charges to the government.

The court agreed with Walgreen’s arguments that:

  • The plaintiff’s emails seeking clarification of what he was being asked to do did not amount to protected activity in furtherance of a qui tam case;
  • There was no evidence that Walgreens knew he had engaged in protected activity; and
  • Because the drug store had a legitimate, non-retaliatory basis for issuing written warnings to the plaintiff, he had suffered no adverse employment action.

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