In 1657, mathematician Blaise Pascal commented in a letter to his church leaders “I have made this longer than usual because I did not have time to make it shorter.” More than 100 years later, another Frenchman, Napoleon Bonaparte, offered a similar remark to his valet as he prepared to head out for battle. “Dress me slowly,” he said, “I’m in a hurry.” The irony of the quotations makes people smile, but few quibble with their underlying truthfulness. Often, the more in a hurry you are, the more you need to slow down.
Continue Reading Using “Prospective Hindsight” To Identify And Mitigate Risks During A Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown us all into a crisis of uncertainty.  How does one stop a global pandemic?  How long will it take to bend the contagion curve?  How should the business community respond, to both the public health and financial challenges?  How we as a nation, as individuals, and as businesses respond to these challenges, will reveal and test our values.
Continue Reading Leading with Values in Times of Crisis

This spring, two major sports teams were caught cheating. Both are consistent championship contenders in recent years.

In the United States, hardly any sports fan could have missed the report released by Major League Baseball concluding that the Houston Astros used cameras to steal signs from opposing pitchers, allowing Astros hitters to know what pitches were coming. The Astros exploited this scheme to win the World Series in 2017, reach the American League Championship in 2018, and reach the World Series again in 2019.[1]


Continue Reading Foul Balls and Red Cards: How Baseball and Soccer’s Different Approaches to Cheating Illustrate the Power of Organizational Response

I was sitting in my office last week thumbing through the latest issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education – the diary of news in the academe – and it hit me that story after story touched on what my colleagues and I call “organizational integrity.” Universities should increasingly focus on their integrity – their values, their culture, their own sense of right and wrong – as the bedrock of their organizational decision-making, risk management, and compliance. And, when their reputations are threatened,  universities should try to ground their response in those same values.
Continue Reading Universities Should Focus on Organizational Integrity in Wake of Scandals

In December 2019, an entire class of West Virginia prison guard trainees was reportedly fired for giving the Nazi salute in their graduation photo.

The incident is not only a chilling display of a detestable symbol of genocide. It is also a crystal-clear example of the problem of the passive bystander. But modern training methods, based on current research on the science of bystandership, can help prevent such abuses before they occur. Such programs are being successfully adopted by law enforcement agencies and other organizations around the country.
Continue Reading How an Entire Class of Prison Guard Trainees Could Have Been Saved by a Simple Bystander Intervention Program

Synopsis

The academic scandal that rocked the University of North Carolina from 2011 to 2014 epitomizes the need for decisive action to respond to circumstances that threaten an organization’s integrity. Failing to respond – or delaying such a response – can threaten an organization’s reputation for candor and transparency. Organizations must not react reflexively in these situations; rather, organizations must react in a way that bolsters or restores its integrity. And, where appropriate, organizations must accept responsibility, adopt and implement meaningful reforms, and transparently report what happened.
Continue Reading Managing a Crisis of Integrity: The University of North Carolina Academic Fraud Scandal

On Monday, May 14, 2019, the Supreme Court issued a decision essentially expanding by four years the time available for private suits to be brought by relators under the False Claims Act (“FCA”), regardless of whether the Government decides to intervene. In Cochise Consultancy, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Hunt, No. 18-315, 2019 WL 2078086 (U.S. May 13, 2019), plaintiff-relator Billy Joe Hunt filed a complaint on November 27, 2013, alleging two defense contractors (collectively, “Cochise”) violated the FCA in 2006 and 2007 by submitting false claims for payment under a subcontract providing security services in Iraq. The United States declined to intervene, and Cochise moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the action was barred under the FCA’s statute of limitations clause, 31 U.S.C. § 3731.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Addresses False Claims Act Statute of Limitations

The Department of Justice (DOJ) appears to be taking to heart the policy articulated in what has come to be called the Granston Memo, as it has recently sought dismissal of 11 False Claims Act (FCA) cases in various federal courts across the country, in part on the grounds that the allegations “lack sufficient merit.” The Granston Memo, issued in January of last year, encouraged DOJ attorneys to seek dismissal of qui tam FCA suits “to advance the government’s interests, preserve limited resources, and avoid adverse precedent.” The 11 suits of which DOJ seeks dismissal all share the same legal theory: drugmakers who arrange patient education on proper drug usage and who assist with prior authorizations are essentially providing an illegal kickback to the prescribing physicians in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.
Continue Reading Upswing in DOJ Qui Tam Dismissals

The United States District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently issued a decision unsealing a False Claims Act case over the objections of the government, the relator and the defendant.[1] In United States ex. Rel. Brasher v. Pentec Health, Inc. No. 13-05745, 2018 WL 5003474 (E.D.P.A. Oct. 16, 2018), a case initially filed five years ago, the government filed a motion to continue the seal – which happened to be its eleventh such motion – arguing that additional time was necessary, in part, to finalize its decision whether to intervene in the action, as well as to pursue settlement options. The Court disagreed.
Continue Reading District Court Determines that the Eleventh Time is NOT the Charm