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. While at Harmon, Smith, Bridges & Wilbanks, Marlan spearheaded the Firm’s efforts to build a powerful False Claims Act practice that involve “qui tam” suits filed on behalf of the taxpayers by whistleblower clients.
These qui tam cases involve a client’s knowledge of fraud against the Government which can take the form of Medicare and Medicaid abuse, grant fraud, pharmaceutical 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 millions 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 and individuals that have committed fraudulent acts against the federal and state government programs in SC, FL, GA, TX, IL, NC, CA, TN, MD 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 the firm were recognized in Washington, D.C., at the 14th Annual Taxpayers Against Fraud Awards Dinner as being the 2014 Whistleblower Lawyers of the Year. His clients were recognized as the 2014 and 2018 Whisblowers of the Year for their heroic efforts in the $65 million recovery against Prime Healthcare and the $85 million recovery against Halifax Health.
Marlan is frequently asked to speak at legal and compliance seminars and conferences about his highly specialized practice area and its many nuances. A sample 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 regarding the changes in the law that impact how cases should be handles by FCA counsel. These seminars are held for lawyers who do not specialize in health care law as well as 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 from Georgia to California. 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 recovered large amounts of money that has 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. 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. He has represented pharmaceutical employees who had insider knowledge of off-label marketing practices by big pharma companies. He has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in cases involving VA mortgage fraud.
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 are 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 that allows the whistleblower to bring a lawsuit as a part of his FCA case for retaliation and 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 supporting a number of child sexual abuse organizations such as FAITH, INC., The Family Resource Center in Habersham County, GA and Freedom Hill. He is the Chairman of the Board for Hope Thrives. 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 Chairman 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,