James, Hoyer, Newcomer & Smiljanich, P.A.
James, Hoyer, Newcomer & Smiljanich, P.A. (James Hoyer) is a Tampa, Florida-based law firm that focuses on whistleblower (qui tam) cases as well as consumer class action lawsuits. The firm was founded in 1992 by former State Attorney for Hillsborough County Bill James, former federal prosecutors, and retired FBI agents. Since its founding, James Hoyer has helped return more than $3 billion to consumers and taxpayers who were victims of fraud. The St. Petersburg Times once called James Hoyer one of Tampa’s most successful law firms.
In 1994, MetLife agreed to pay $42.75 million in refunds to 18,000 customers after James Hoyer, along with co-counsel, brought suit against the company for using misleading tactics to sell life insurance as a retirement or savings plan. MetLife also agreed to pay a $20-million fine to insurance regulators across the country in relation to the lawsuit. The 18,000 MetLife customers received an average of about $2,200 in refunds and interest, for a total payout by Met Life of $39,600,000. The attorney's fees paid by Met Life for the multi-year litigation, approved by the Court, was $2.75 million, according to the New York Times article. Met Life also agreed to change the fraudulent practices it had been accused of.
In 2000, James Hoyer helped negotiate a $206 million class action settlement with insurer American General Corp., on behalf of thousands of African American customers who were systematically overcharged due to their race for small “burial” policies.
In 2005, James Hoyer helped secure $52 million in new funding for Florida's elderly in nursing homes. The firm fully funded all the costs of the litigation and donated all of the legal time. James Hoyer received the Chair's Honor Award from the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar for the firm's efforts.
In 2008, James Hoyer was recognized by the Florida Bar for securing a $295,000 cy pres award for The Florida Bar Foundation. The Florida Bar Foundation is the only statewide organization in Florida that provides funding for Legal Aid and promotes improvements in addressing the civil legal needs of the poor.
In 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported on the firm's use of social media to connect with students of Westwood College, a for-profit school which the firm was pursuing litigation. The Journal also reported that Westwood College had filed a suit against James Hoyer, alleging defamation through "new media Internet weapons".
In 2012, James Hoyer represented one of four whistleblowers in a qui tam case against WellCare Health Plans, Inc that resulted in a $137.5 million settlement. The lawsuits alleged a number of schemes to submit false claims to Medicare and various Medicaid programs.
In 2014, James Hoyer represented a whistleblower in a qui tam case against Endo Pharmaceuticals that resulted in a $193 million settlement. The lawsuit alleged that the makers of the Lidoderm Patch were marketing the pain reliever for unapproved uses.
- James Hoyer homepage
- Firm Biography from James Hoyer homepage
- Practice Areas from James Hoyer homepage
- Kyle Parks, "Issues taking back seat to personality in election" St. Petersburg Times (October 23, 2000)
- "CWN Staff". Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Michael Quint, "Taking on Insurance Giants". NY Times (July 19, 1995)
- Ted Jackovics, "Florida Ratifies Restitution Plan for Burial Insurance Policyholders" Tampa Tribune (July 11, 2000)
- "Tampa lawyers come to aid of Florida's seniors: pro bono efforts secure elders their rights under federal Medicaid law." Florida Bar News (August 1, 2005)
- Becky Yerak, "Allstate settles suit on credit score use"
- Nancy Kinnally "Foundation benefits from cy pres award" The Florida Bar News (September 1, 2008)
- "About Us" section from Florida Bar Foundation's homepage
- Koppel, Nathan (2010-06-15). "Using Social Networking as Legal Tool". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-06-16.
- "WellCare Health Plans, Inc. Agrees to Pay $137.5 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations". www.justice.gov. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Hughes, Claire (21 February 2014). "Upstate NY whistleblower's info leads to Lidoderm settlement". Retrieved 11 June 2014.