Archives: whistleblower

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Circuit Split Over Protection Afforded By Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Provision Widens

by Joseph C. Toris and Benjamin L. Rouder In Somers v. Digital Realty Trust, 15-17352 (9th Cir. March 8, 2017), a split Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals widened an existing circuit court split by ruling that Section 21F of the Dodd-Frank Act (“DFA”) protects individuals who make internal disclosures as well as those who make … Continue Reading

CFTC Has Banner Year For Enforcement Actions in FY2016

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently released its enforcement results for fiscal year 2016.  In FY 2016, the CFTC filed 68 enforcement actions and obtained restitution, disgorgement and penalty orders totaling approximately $1.29 billion.  The CFTC collected and deposited at the U.S. Treasury over $484 million in civil monetary penalties, nearly double the … Continue Reading

California Court Rules Sarbanes-Oxley Preempts California Law Regarding Privileged Communications in Suit by Former In-House Counsel

Written by Joseph C. Toris and Benjamin L. Rouder By determining that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX” or the “Act”) preempts California’s ethical rules, the Northern District of California ruled that an in-house attorney can rely on privileged communications and confidential information to the extent they are reasonably necessary to assert a claim or defense. Wadler … Continue Reading

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Surpasses $100 Million in Awards Through Whistleblower Program

On August 30, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that it surpassed the $100 million mark in monetary awards for whistleblowers. Through the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank Act”), Congress established the whistleblower program to incentivize whistleblowers … Continue Reading

Sometimes a Complaint is Just a Complaint: Eighth Circuit Applies Reasonableness Standard to Reject Employee’s SOX Retaliation Claim

Earlier this summer, in Beacom v. Oracle, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment dismissing the SOX and Dodd Frank Act claims of an employee who was fired from his Vice President position after he says that he complained about changes in his employer’s financial forecasting. The Court upheld dismissal … Continue Reading

SEC Announces Third-Highest Award Ever to Whistleblower

Written by Richard C. Paul On May 17, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it would award between $5 million and $6 million, the third-highest award ever, to a whistleblower who provided information detailing securities violations committed by the whistleblower’s former employer. Under the so-called “bounty” provision of the Dodd-Frank Act, the … Continue Reading

“Put Up or Shut Up:” The Third Circuit Denies Former Tyco Employee’s SOX Whistleblower Claim

There have been a series of legal battles since 2009 between Tyco Electronics Corp. and its former accounts payable manager, Jeffrey Wiest, fired for sexually harassing and engaging in inappropriate sexual relations with several female subordinates. In the latest skirmish, a Third Circuit panel unanimously backed Tyco, holding that Wiest was, in fact, discharged for … Continue Reading

Best Practices When a Current Employee Complains

It is vital that all employers investigate internal complaints that may be covered under a variety of laws, including EEO laws (for example, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, and state EEO laws), whistleblower laws such as, Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd Frank (and state whistleblower laws), OSHA, the False Claims Act, and the NLRA. Additionally, employers conduct investigations in … Continue Reading

NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT ADDRESSES CRIMINAL LIABILITY OF WHISTLEBLOWERS

When the Supreme Court of New Jersey held in Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corp., 204 N.J. 239 (2010) that an employee’s unauthorized taking of an employer’s confidential documents can constitute protected activity when the documents are used in support of a discrimination claim. it left several vexing questions unanswered. In particular, the Court did not explain … Continue Reading

New Jersey Supreme Court Rejects Heightened Standard For “Watchdog” Whistleblowers

Written by Richard J. Cino and Michael D. Ridenour In a decision that is likely to have far-reaching impact on employers, the New Jersey Supreme Court has rejected a heightened standard for “watchdog” employees, i.e. employees whose job duties include ensuring legal compliance, to prove whistleblower liability under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act … Continue Reading

SEC Action Impacts Employer Confidentiality Agreements

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently settled its first administrative proceeding and enforcement action under the Dodd-Frank Act involving an employer’s use of a form confidentiality agreement.  The SEC found the agreement, which prohibited employees from discussing aspects of internal investigations without prior law department authorization, could interfere with the employee’s ability to communicate with the Commission regarding … Continue Reading

Corporate Executives Sentenced to Prison for $3.4M Kickback Scheme

Two former executives at one of the nation’s leading healthcare claims processing firms, MultiPlan, Inc., were recently sentenced to serve one year and one day in federal prison for their role in a scheme to steer contracts to technology vendors in exchange for $3.4 million in bribes and kickbacks. Keith Bush, MultiPlan’s former Vice President … Continue Reading

Justice Department Announces Recovery of Nearly $6 Billion From False Claims Act Cases in Fiscal Year 2014

The Justice Department announced that it secured a record $5.69 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud against the government in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014 (“FY2014”).  This marks the first time the Justice Department recovered more than $5 billion in these cases, bringing the total recoveries under the False … Continue Reading

Does Dodd-Frank Act Protect Whistleblower Who Did Not Report to SEC?

Whether a claimant qualifies as a whistleblower under the  language of the Dodd-Frank Act when he  does not complain directly to the SEC is  the question the Eighth  Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis may attempt to answer. Securities clearing and settlement firm COR Clearing LLC has appealed a Nebraska District Court’s denial of … Continue Reading

Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Provision Proving Fertile Breeding Ground for Whistleblowers

In a securities filing on May 1, 2014, it was announced that Avon Products, Inc. had reached a $135 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice. The $135 million in fines will be paid to the SEC and the DOJ by Avon to resolve violations under the Foreign … Continue Reading

DOJ Settlement Yields Nice Change for Whistleblowers

Agreeing to pay a total of $15.5 million, a diagnostic imaging company has settled with the Department of Justice under the False Claims Act for allegedly submitting claims to Medicare for services never completed. Claims purportedly were made to federal Medicare and to New York and New Jersey Medicaid Programs for CT scans and other … Continue Reading

For Business: World Bank’s Anti-Corruption Ethics and Compliance Resource

An effective anti-corruption program is important for any company covered by Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), which bars American companies from bribing officials overseas. The World Bank and its partners have released the “Anti-Corruption Ethics and Compliance Handbook for Business,” billed as a new resource developed by companies, for companies. (Available at http://www.oecd.org/g20/topics/anti-corruption/anti-corruption-ethics-and-compliance-handbook-for-business.htm.) The Handbook … Continue Reading

SEC Argues for Broad Construction of Dodd-Frank Act Whistleblower Anti-Retaliation Provision

In the wake of recent SEC pronouncements about huge numbers of whistleblower complaints in the pipeline, one of the most hotly contested issues under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act “Dodd Frank Act”) has been the question of whether the Dodd Frank Act’s whistleblower anti-retaliation provision protects only those individuals who report … Continue Reading

New York Rolls Out Internal Governance Requirements for Non-Profits

Beginning July 1, 2014, New York State will require non-profit organizations to institute certain internal governance controls. The Non-Profit Revitalization Act (N.Y. N-PCL §§ 715-a, 715-b (2014)) imposes new requirements on whistleblower and conflict of interest policies, as well as financial reporting and audit procedures. The required whistleblower policy, designed to promote an employer’s zero … Continue Reading

Hospital System Agrees To Pay $85 Million To Resolve Alleged False Claims Act Violations

Continuing a trend we reported in January 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice announced another multi-million dollar settlement of alleged False Claims Act (“FCA”) violations.  In this case, Halifax Hospital Medical Center and Halifax Staffing, Inc. (collectively “Halifax”) agreed to pay $85 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by submitting … Continue Reading

5th Circuit Skirts Extraterritoriality Issue Under SOX

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Villanueva v. Core Laboratories, NV recently held that an individual employed by a foreign subsidiary of a publicly traded company did not engage in protected activity under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act because his complaints focused on violations of Colombian law, not violations of any of the … Continue Reading

Stealing Confidential Documents Not Excused under New Jersey Law, Regardless of Purpose

Upholding a criminal indictment of theft and official misconduct against a former Board of Education clerk, a New Jersey appeals court has warned potential whistleblowers that individuals pursuing anti-discrimination actions against employers must act within the law. In State of New Jersey v. Saavedra, 2013 N.J. Super LEXIS 185, (December 24, 2013), a Board of … Continue Reading
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