National Law Journal Honors Three Akin Gump Lawyers as “Litigation Trailblazers”

(Washington, D.C.) – In its inaugural edition of Litigation Trailblazers & Pioneers, The National Law Journal featured three Akin Gump health care and life sciences practice partners—Christopher Keough, Stephanie Webster and Robert Salcido—among its top 50 “people who have made a difference in the fight for justice.” In a release, NLJ noted, “Each of the professionals recognized has promoted significant change in the way cases are litigated through the use of inventive defense techniques or technologies; by bringing unique types of cases to court; executing novel litigation approaches; and/or by establishing new approaches to billing.” 

Mr. Keough and Ms. Webster were recognized together for their work representing hospitals in Medicare reimbursement disputes. As their profile notes, “The game changed when cost reimbursement was replaced with a prospective payments system, with rates set in advance and recalibrated every fiscal year.” Consequently, Mr. Keough and Ms. Webster have represented hospitals in a number of key cases, including those cited by NLJ: Baystate Health System v. Thompson, “the first time anyone challenged Medicare’s “black box” calcu­lations, and Cape Cod Hospital v. Sebelius, in which they represented nearly 700 hospitals in a case that “illustrated that a small, undetected mathematical error can have a giant impact on a hospital’s bottom line.”

Mr. Salcido was recognized for his outstanding work in the area of False Claims Act (FCA) cases, defending private sector clients against government enforcement. His profile notes the high-wire nature of his work: defendants pay trebled damages if the government wins and risk exclusion from future government work. Despite the resultant rarity of cases going to trial, in Jamison v. McKesson Corp., Mr. Salcido’s client Golden Living did go to trial after the government sued its predecessor company for $895 million, alleging an unlawful kickback scheme. After 14 days of trial, the court ruled in his client’s favor. As he notes, “The case was noteworthy because we overcame the government’s great leverage and the legal prin­ciple the court relied upon. The fact that two businesses do business together and would like to do more does not necessarily indicate any unlawful or improper kickback arrangement.”

Akin Gump’s health care and life sciences practice and practitioners have been the recipients of several recent recognitions. In addition to the Litigation Trailblazers honors, the practice was named a Law360 Practice Group of the Year for the fourth consecutive year (read more here), and Stephanie Webster was named a Law360 Health Care MVP (read more here).

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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