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Ronald J. Schutz, Robins Kaplan LLP
Ronald J. Schutz, Robins Kaplan LLP

The POWER 30: Ronald J. Schutz

Ninety-five million dollars is about the price DaVita paid for allegedly defrauding it patients. The case settled after one day of trial.

It was a big win for the defrauded patients and lawyers Ronald Schutz and Jeff Gleason of Robins Kaplan LLP. Gleason originated the case, and Schutz is the chair of the executive board of Robins Kaplan. He spends about half a day as chair of the firm and the other half practicing law in a combination of business disputes and intellectual property

In Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. and Health Options, Inc. (“Florida Blue”) v. DaVita, Inc., Robins Kaplan represented Florida Blue, who sued DaVita Inc., a national network of dialysis clinics headquartered in Delaware. It alleged the provider conspired with the American Kidney Fund, a 501(c)(3) based in Rockville, Maryland, to cause Florida Blue to pay “tens of millions of dollars” for patient treatments that should have been covered by Medicaid or Medicare. The American Kidney Fund is not a party.

The settlement is confidential, but the amount sought was $95 million. It is to be paid in one lump sum.

What the lawsuit claimed, Schutz said, was that DaVita advised patients who were eligible for Medicaid and Medicare to instead enroll in Florida Blue plans so that DaVita could be paid more per treatment than it would have been paid by the government health care plans. “They don’t make money doing Medicare patients, only commercial insurance,” he explained.

In another case, Robins Kaplan represented Blue Cross and Blue Shield in its class action lawsuit against Vyera Pharmaceuticals; its parent company, Phoenixus AG; and two former executives, Martin Shkreli, also known as “pharma bro” and Kevin Mulleady.

Under the direction of Shkreli and Mulleady, the per-pill price for Daraprim, a treatment for toxoplasmosis, went from $17.50 to $750 — an increase of more than 4,000% when illegally limiting generic competition. The company will pay up to $28 million. Shkreli went to prison but was released in May.

Like many law firms post-pandemic, Robins Kaplan is dealing with a hybrid workplace. The lawyers are in the office at least three days a week but always on Thursdays. “It’s a new normal for white-collar workers,” Schutz said.