An appellate court sided with the state in dismissing a whistleblower claim by a former government lawyer who alleged that his agency was improperly taking reimbursements from Medicaid recipients.
F. Michael McMillen, a lawyer with more than 20 years of experience, was deputy counsel in the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General, said the Third Court of Appeals opinion in Texas Health and Human Services Commission v. McMillen. His lawsuit alleged that the agency violated the Texas Whistleblower Act and the Texas Constitution’s free speech clause.
But Austin’s Third Court ruled that the court lacked jurisdiction over McMillen’s whistleblower claim because he did not report the alleged violation of law to the proper law enforcement authority. He reported it internally to HHSC personnel, who didn’t have authority over federal Medicaid law. The Third Court also ruled that free speech protections wouldn’t cover McMillen because in his situation, he wasn’t speaking as a public citizen.