Lawyers for one of the defendant dentists in the Lafountain TMFPA lawsuit filed a motion June 1 asking the Dallas County district court judge presiding over the case to dismiss it and sanction the whistleblower and his lawyers for bringing a “groundless, brought in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment” lawsuit per the court document.
Relator never worked for dental practices
As TDMR previously reported, the case is about Medicaid fraud allegations brought by a former dental employee, Joshua Lafountain, against 71 Medicaid dental entities and dentists for which he had never worked.
Testified under oath no personal knowledge or evidence of wrongdoing
Per the filing, the basis for the motion is that Lafountain’s testimony under oath in a deposition in April “contradicts and disproves allegations in his pleadings as well as representations previously made by Relator’s counsel to the Court.” Lafountain had testified in his deposition that he had no personal knowledge or evidence against any provider named in his TMFPA lawsuit, according to court documents.
Lawyers told Court that he did have knowledge or evidence
The motion states:
“When Defendants challenged Relator’s claims through a jurisdictional plea in 2019, Relator’s counsel assured the Court that Relator “has personal knowledge from his relationships with the defendants. He has personal knowledge because he has seen it through portals. He has information that he has glea[n]ed from public sources like the ones that we have already cited to the Court in prior hearings associated with reviews and also with public information requests.” The Court has given Relator the benefit of the doubt. But in 2020, Relator gave sworn testimony, in his court-ordered deposition, establishing that these representations are false and he has no evidentiary basis for his claims.”
“In light of Relator’s deposition testimony confirming he has no personal knowledge of any TMFPA violations by any Defendant, any protestation by Relator that he cannot provide evidence of each Defendant’s purported TMFPA violation(s) until after his expert reviews documents produced by Defendants during discovery is an admission that:
- Relator does not currently have any evidence to support any TMFPA claim against any Defendant;
- Relator (and his counsel) filed this lawsuit without a good faith basis, in violation of Texas law;
- Relator is using this lawsuit as a tool to investigate theoretical claims, which is beyond the qui tam authority delegated by the Texas Legislature; and
- Relator’s discovery requests are fishing expeditions prohibited by Texas law.”
Seeking monetary sanctions
The motion goes on to seek monetary sanctions against Lafountain and his counsel asserting that the lawsuit was “groundless, brought in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment.”
“Relator has filed other TMFPA lawsuits. When he commenced this suit, he had nothing but conjecture and a filing fee. His deposition testimony confirms he had no factual basis to provide his lawyers in this case. His lawyers had no basis to certify that Relator possessed facts that he did not, in fact, possess. Well-established Texas law compels the conclusion that Relator and his counsel should be sanctioned under Rule 13 and chapter 9.”
Relator wanted every patient file relating to 250,000 Medicaid payments
One of the paragraphs in the motion provides an ominous warning to other Medicaid providers about such lawsuits.
“Moreover, the circumstances under which Relator and his counsel have made false allegations and representations in the pleadings and other papers and the length of time they have persisted in doing so demonstrate that this lawsuit was filed for purposes of harassment. Through groundless pleadings invoked through groundless and false representations in court and other papers filed in opposition to dismissal under Rule 91a and jurisdictional case law, Relator and his counsel evaded dismissal and parlayed no personal knowledge and no supporting evidence into a free look into hundreds of Defendants’ files in hopes that Relator might find a colorable claim. Relator initially asked for every patient file related to over 250,000 Medicaid payments, and his counsel made false representations at hearings about what his client already knew and possessed in the way of evidence. In reliance on Relator’s allegations and his counsel’s representations, the Court compelled Defendants to produce-at first 60 and now 600—patient files.”
If no dismissal, judge asked to order evidence to be provided
Should the judge not agree with the motion for dismissal and sanctions, the motion, in the alternative, asks the judge to compel the production of documents supporting Lafountain’s claims, which should have been produced through the discovery process.motion for sanctions and dismissal