Marlan B. Wilbanks – Senior Partner
Marlan B. Wilbanks is a founding partner of Wilbanks & Gouinlock, LLP. Prior to founding this Firm, he was with the firm of Harmon, Smith, Bridges & Wilbanks and then Wilbanks & Bridges since graduation from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1986. While at Harmon, Smith, Bridges & Wilbanks, Marlan spearheaded the Firm’s efforts to achieve national recognition involving qui tam litigation or “whistleblower” suits, as they are more commonly known. In whistleblower suits, the firm represents individuals who have come forward with information concerning fraudulent acts that have been committed against the Government (federal or state).
These cases involve a client’s knowledge of Medicare and Medicaid abuse, grant fraud or information regarding the defrauding of the Government by a company involved in the military defense industry. The Firm’s successes in this area of practice have created a tremendous “win-win” scenario for both the Firm’s clients and the Government taxpayers. Marlan’s cases have resulted in over $2Billion being returned by guilty corporations and individuals to the U.S. Treasury. Marlan’s clients have reached settlements with defendants in amounts ranging from one million to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Marlan is currently acting as lead counsel in important qui tam cases that are filed in federal courts across the nation. He has handled whistleblower litigation matters against companies that have committed fraudulent acts against the federal government and the states of SC, FL, GA, TX, IL, NC, CA, TN and WA, by way of example.
The successful results obtained for Marlan’s clients in this field have been the subject of many national newspaper articles and television reports. The coverage of Marlan’s cases has been provided by diverse media sources such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Journal, CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox News, Atlanta network television affiliates and numerous legal periodicals. A sampling of these articles is available for your review through this website. He and his firm were recognized in Washington, D.C., at the 14th Annual Taxpayers Against Fraud Awards Dinner as being the 2013-2014 Whistleblower Lawyers of the Year.
Marlan is frequently asked to speak at seminars and conferences of lawyers about this highly specialized practice area and its many mine fields. A list of some of his lectures and speaking engagements over the last year are posted on this website under “Appearances.” He has participated in seminars and conferences dealing with recent developments in qui tam litigation at sites across the country. He has regularly conducts presentations on whistleblower actions. These seminars are held for lawyers who do not specialize in health care law and also for lawyers who exclusively specialize in False Claims Act cases. He has assisted in the preparation of litigation seminars organized by the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and numerous other trial organizations. He has regularly taught and participated in law school seminars, which involve matters as diverse as expert witness preparation, case analysis, and successful trial techniques.
Marlan’s success in obtaining recoveries for his qui tam clients is a matter of record. Some recent cases are discussed on this website. His clients have achieved very substantial recoveries and large amounts of money have been returned to the United States and state taxpayers as a result of whistleblower cases filed by Marlan on behalf of his clients. The types of whistleblowers that he has represented through the years have been very diverse. He has successfully represented individuals who are located within the upper echelons of national hospital chains and management companies. He has represented educators and administrators who witnessed grant fraud and abuse on a large scale. He has represented physician specialists who have protested illegal coding and billing practices at hospitals. He has represented doctors and administrators who have observed and fought against the overpayment of physicians which was specifically designed to enhance illegal referrals to the hospitals paying the excessive salaries. He regularly represents billers, coders and healthcare providers who believe that they have knowledge of the overcharging, upcoding or excessive billing of Medicare and Medicaid.
Many of Marlan’s clients have backgrounds as healthcare providers or as healthcare compliance employees. It is often these individuals who have the most direct bird’s eye view of fraudulent practices occurring within medical practices or hospitals. When these individuals cannot effectuate change at their jobs, they routinely call upon Marlan and the remedies available under the False Claims Act to seek redress for the taxpayers. The False Claims Act is our country’s greatest fraud-fighting tool. At a time when our healthcare programs are overburdened, it is more important than ever that these American heroes seek out attorneys like Marlan Wilbanks and Susan Gouinlock to fight for the rights of those who won’t tolerate fraudulent conduct.
It is not uncommon for these heroic individuals who file False Claims Act suits to be retaliated against by the offending parties. Fortunately, we can file lawsuits which were specifically and uniquely crafted to protect the whistleblowers. If an individual is retaliated against because of his whistleblowing activities, a private cause of action exists whereby that whistleblower can bring a lawsuit as a part of his FCA case for the wrongful discharge. Marlan has successfully represented many whistleblowers who have been mistreated by employers who resented the actions taken by the whistleblower in bringing attention to the fraudulent schemes at issue. Under the whistleblower protection laws, Marlan has been able to obtain substantial recoveries for his clients for lost back-pay, front-pay and for other losses caused by the wrongful retaliation and loss of employment opportunities.
Marlan and his wife and daughter have resided in Atlanta since 1986. Marlan is actively involved in children’s causes such as Hope Thrives, Camp Kudzu, and The Family Resource Center. He was active in the Big Brother Program in Atlanta for over 12 years. Marlan recently founded the University of Georgia School of Law’s clinic that was created to provide free legal care to the victims of child sexual abuse. This clinic is the Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation (“CEASE”) Clinic and it is the first of its kind in the United States.
Marlan is a member of the Northside United Methodist Church and various other community service organizations. He serves on the board of trustees of Young Harris College and he is on the Board of Visitors for the University of Georgia School of Law.
U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1988
U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia, 1988
University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, Georgia