Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III and local law enforcement agencies within the state, Tuesday announced the execution of a settlement agreement with LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Inc., and several affiliates. The settlement agreement – which also was executed by the state of Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, and the city of Baltimore – resolves claims that LexisNexis underpaid certain fees associated with the purchase and resale of automobile crash reports and related crash data, which are owed to state and local law enforcement agencies by contract.
“The contract between LexisNexis and Tennessee’s law enforcement agencies was clear: the company agreed to pay for the sale of every crash report, which it did not do,” said Attorney General Slatery. “This office will continue to pursue companies that do not honor their agreements with state agencies.”
Specifically, the investigation – which was conducted jointly with the attorneys general of Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, as well as the city solicitor of Baltimore –revealed that LexisNexis maintained an active database of all crash reports and crash-related data purchased from state and local law enforcement agencies on behalf of Lexis customers. While LexisNexis would pay the necessary fees to law enforcement agencies for the first sale of a crash report to a customer, it would not pay any additional fees for subsequent sales of the same report to other customers. This practice resulted in an underreporting of crash report sales to state and local law enforcement agencies, and underpayment of the requisite fees based on those inaccurate sales figures. This underreporting of sales and underpayment of fees violated the False Claims Act of the State of Tennessee, and similar statutes in the other affected jurisdictions.
In accordance with this settlement, LexisNexis must pay $5,811,708 to the settling parties. Of this amount, Tennessee and local law enforcement agencies will recover $1,122,821.99.
The lawsuit was brought by a whistle blower under the Tennessee False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to file civil actions on behalf of the government and share in any recovery. The whistle blower, a former employee of LexisNexis, will receive about $1.1 million for bringing this misconduct to light.