The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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October 1, 2013

Lawsuit update: Regenwether takes the stand

Ex-fire chief takes witness stand, defends department's billing activities



"This case should have and could have gone to trial and could have been defended if they city had a lawyer who knew what he was doing," Hannafan said.

According to Hannafan, Walker had never heard of the Federal False Claims Act before being hired to defend the city in the EMS case. Further, Hannafan contended, Walker did not do enough work on the case before he suggested the city settle.

In January 2010, a federal judge set a trial date for June 2011. Three months later in April 2010, Walker told his staff to stop working on the city's EMS case because he was going to settle it, Hannafan told the jury.

While Walker entered defenses for the city in the EMS case, he did not do anything with them, Hannafan said. Hannafan argued the city could have walked away from the case because it could prove it did not knowingly file false claims. Walker didn't take any depositions during

his handling of the case or monitor Wolfberg, he claimed. Hannafan also lambasted Walker for not questioning Wolfberg's statistic that on average a city should have 40 percent ALS calls and 60 percent BLS calls for Medicare and Medicaid. During the period of the EMS lawsuit the city had around 99 percent ALS calls for Medicare and Medicaid.

"He was hired to defend the case and he did not. He babysat the case for 10 months and then rolled over to a Des Moines law firm and Schultheis," Hannafan said.

The defense then had its turn to tell the jury its view. Bob Waterman, with Lane and Waterman, said the settlement was necessary.

"This was a case that needed to be settled and would have gotten worse had it gone on," Waterman said.

In their research, the defense found at least 1,488 cases of improperly coded calls, which Waterman said could have resulted in the city being fined more than $16 million.

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