A civil health care fraud lawsuit has been filed against Life Spine Inc., as well as its founder and president, Michael Butler, and Vice President of development, Richard Greiber, for allegedly paying millions of dollars in kickbacks to surgeons for using their spinal implants, equipment, and other devices. According to the lawsuit, the surgeons who received kickbacks from Life Spine Inc. accounted for half of the company’s total sales from 2012-2018.
Life Spine Inc. is headquartered out of Huntley, Illinois and specializes in the development and manufacturing of devices used in spinal surgeries. This includes spinal implants and instruments under the Life Spine Products line.
In 2012, Butler and Greiber began aggressively recruiting surgeons to act as paid consultants for the company. Butler and Greiber also promised surgeons that any patent applications that were transferred to Life Spine Inc. would result in the related products being brought to market. However, these agreements were contingent on the surgeons’ continued use of Life Spine Products. In exchange, the surgeons received up-front intellectual property acquisition fees for their patent transfers, as well as royalties for sales from the patented products, and regular consulting fees.