DAVENPORT — The former Clinton firefighter who sued the city of Clinton for defrauding the U.S. government and the attorney accused of settling that suit for too much, too soon testified Wednesday as the city of Clinton’s legal malpractice suit continued.
Ex-firefighter Timothy Schultheis and attorney Michael Walker were called to the stand Wednesday by the city of Clinton as adverse witnesses. The city is suing Walker and his law firm Hopkins and Huebner, which represented the city in the emergency medical services case that resulted in the city settling with whistleblower Schultheis and the U.S.
Department of Justice for $4.5 million in 2010. Schultheis and his attorneys received 30 percent of that settlement, $1.35 million, which is being paid in annual installments over a period of 10 years. Walker’s firm was retained to represent the city’s interests in 2009 after Schultheis filed a complaint under the Federal False Claims Act that emergency medical calls handled by city ambulances were being improperly coded. By listing even routine calls as advanced life support instead of basic life support, Schultheis claimed the city was able to receive higher reimbursement rates from Medicare and Medicaid.
The city alleges Walker failed to properly analyze the whistleblower case and his negligence led to the city settling. It is seeking $4.67 million in order to recoup the expenses of the settlement along with
Walker’s and other fees.
Schultheis, who was under subpoena to appear, took the stand first, facing two rounds of questions from Mike Hannafan, the attorney with Chicago law firm Hannafan and Hannafan retained by the city for the legal malpractice suit, and two from Walker’s attorney, Bob Waterman.
Schultheis worked at the Clinton Fire Department from April 2007 and worked his last shift in November 2008. He was technically employed until April 2009, when he received a disability pension. Hannafan began his questioning Wednesday with the Federal False Claims Act complaint Schultheis filed on behalf of the U.S. government under seal in federal district court in September 2008. Schultheis’s attorney in that case was Ben Roach, who is an attorney with Des Moines law firm, Nyemaster, Goode, the firm with which Schultheis’s brother, Mark, is an attorney.