West Virginians can be proud of our state's coal industry. Our mines produced more than 144 million tons of coal last year, the bulk of which is exported to other states to supply their energy needs.

Unfortunately, we're also a leader in lawsuit production, and there's no pride in that. Even worse, some of our crafty trial attorneys are now trying to export their money-seeking, frivolous filings to the rest of the country.

The Charleston firm of Bailey & Glasser is leading the way in this dubious export industry, having filed a suit in Grand Rapids, Mich., on behalf of Marcia Gurganus, a Kroger pharmacist from Princeton, W.Va.

The suit, alleging that various drug store chains are cheating the Michigan Medicaid program by overcharging for prescription medicines, is similar to ones filed here by Bailey & Glasser on behalf of State Attorney General Darrell McGraw.

Bailey & Glasser appear to have overestimated the potential of their new business venture, however. Apparently, jackpot justice is not in high demand in Michigan as it is in West Virginia.

Kent County (Mich.) Circuit Judge James Robert Redford recently dismissed the law suit noting that "the only actual pricing information that is the premise for all of these claims is derived from insider Kroger information obtained in West Virginia in violation of Kroger's computer use policies."

In their motion for dismissal, the drug store chains described the suit as "an improper and misguided (whistleblower) action that fails as a matter of law both procedurally and substantively." The motion emphasized that the plaintiff, Marcia Gurganus, "fails to identify a single transaction that allegedly violated the section of the Public Health Code at issue, let alone identify a single reimbursement claim that was allegedly false or deceptive."

Judge Redford agreed, finding "no foundation for Plaintiff's conclusion that Defendants are perpetuating Medicaid fraud in Michigan."

We need more judges like Redford in West Virginia.




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