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Proskauer Whistleblower Defense

California Court Permits Whistleblowing Lawyer To Use Privileged Information

Posted in Dodd Frank, SOX Whistleblower Decisions

nd calA California Federal Magistrate Judge in Sanford S. Wadler v. Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. et al., No. 3:15-cv-02356 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 20, 2016), recently ruled that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act preempts California’s ethical rules regarding the disclosure of attorney-client privileged information, and that an in-house lawyer may use privileged information as the foundation for his retaliation claim. Continue Reading

District of Massachusetts Clarifies Immunity Defense Burden Under Defend Trade Secrets Act

Posted in DTSA

massdcAs noted in our May 2016 client alert, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), which establishes a federal cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets into law.  As part of its protections, the DTSA provides an immunity defense for lawful disclosures (as defined by the law), including disclosures to an attorney for the sole purpose of reporting or investigating a suspected legal violation.  On December 6, 2016, a federal court in Massachusetts clarified the burden associated with asserting the immunity defense in a DTSA action. Unum Group v. Loftus, Case No. 16-cv-40154 (D. Mass.). Continue Reading

Highlights of SEC’s 2016 Annual Whistleblower Report

Posted in SEC

secThe Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower recently released its sixth Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program to Congress, which details information on the SEC’s activities and bounty payouts.  The report covers the SEC’s 2016 fiscal year, which ran from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. Continue Reading

Former CFO Awarded $1.9 Million In SOX Case

Posted in SOX Whistleblower Decisions

dolAn ALJ at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently ruled that a former CFO was entitled to approximately $1.9 million in back pay, front pay, and compensatory damages, concluding that he was retaliated against in violation of Section 806 of SOX.  Becker v. Community Health Systems Inc., 2014-SOX-00044 (ALJ Nov. 9, 2016). Continue Reading

E.D. Pennsylvania Limits Protected Activity Under SOX

Posted in SOX Whistleblower Decisions

EDPAIn Westawski v. Merck & Co., No. 14-cv-3239 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 18, 2016), the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Defendant Merck & Co. (Company) summary judgment on Plaintiff Joni Westawski’s (Plaintiff) SOX whistleblower retaliation claim, concluding that her purported belief that the Company violated securities laws was not objectively reasonable. Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Issues Ruling Interpreting False Claim Act Whistleblower Amendments

Posted in False Claims Act

The Seventh Circuit recently issued a decision interpreting the anti-retaliation provisions 7th cirof the False Claims Act (FCA).  The decision provides important clarifications about how courts may interpret recent amendments to this provision.  Like a recent decision by the Fourth Circuit, the Seventh Circuit finds that courts may inquire whether the employee’s underlying complaint of FCA fraud was objectively and subjectively reasonable.  Using that standard, the Seventh Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of the whistleblower’s claim on a motion for summary judgment.  Continue Reading

Proskauer Joins Heads of SEC & OSHA Whistleblower Programs in Webinar

Posted in Best Practices, Dodd Frank, SEC, SOX Whistleblower Decisions

webinarOn September 27, 2016, Proskauer Partner Steven J. Pearlman, co-head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Practice Group, participated in a Bloomberg webinar with Jane Norberg, Acting Chief of the SEC Office of the Whistleblower, MaryAnn Garrahan, Director of OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program, and plaintiff-side practitioner, Jason Zuckerman.  The participants discussed: the SEC Whistleblower Reward Program; OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program; confidentiality and other limitations in severance and settlement agreements; protected disclosures under SOX and Dodd-Frank; best practices for addressing internal disclosures and the impact of the whistleblower provision of the Defend Trade Secrets Act.

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