City of Los Angeles Wins $8.7M From Office Depot in Whistleblower Suit

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City of Los Angeles Wins $8.7M From Office Depot in Whistleblower Suit

 user admin 2014-11-18 at 11:55:15 am Views: 358
  • #41493

    City of Los Angeles Wins $8.7M From Office Depot in Whistleblower Suit
    By Rick Orlov

    In a rare case of Los Angeles receiving money as a result of a legal action, the City Council on Friday accepted $8.7 million in a settlement against Office Depot triggered by a whistleblower.

    “At a time when the city is having financial troubles, it’s nice to bring in $8.7 million to the city,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said. “I hope we can use this as a way for the city to welcome more actions of this type.”Feuer said the case has been pending since he took office in July 2013. The money received by the city is part of an overall settlement of $80 million with the state of California.
    “These are unique cases where a whistleblower comes forward and can show how public entities were shortchanged,” Feuer said. “This is a highly specialized field, and only a few law firms handle these kind of cases.” Efforts to get a comment from Office Depot were unsuccessful, however the company previously said it has instituted new procedures to monitor its contracts with government agencies.

    The action began in 2009 when Sherwin, a business manager at Office Depot, filed a whistleblower complaint that the company was overcharging the city and other governmental jurisdictions. He died earlier this year at the age of 59. His family has a lawsuit pending against Office Depot.

    The original contract between the various governmental jurisdictions guaranteed “most favored public entity” pricing on goods. Office Depot later negotiated separate contracts with other government organizations at lower prices, according to an analysis from the law firm of Akin Gump. Office Depot also switched products to higher-priced items, failed to include manufacturer rebates and increased its list prices more than twice a year, Akin Gump said.