Category Archives: Dodd Frank

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U.S. Supreme Court To Review Scope Of “Whistleblower” Under Dodd-Frank

On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review whether individuals who do not report alleged securities law violations to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are “whistleblowers” protected by the anti-retaliation provision of the Dodd-Frank Act. Somers v. Digital Realty Trust, Inc., 850 F.3d 1045 (9th Cir. 2017), cert. granted, No. 16-1276 … Continue Reading

N.D. Illinois Dismisses Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim For Lack Of Complaint To The SEC

On June 7, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed a whistleblower retaliation claim under the Dodd-Frank Act because the plaintiff failed to report his complaint of alleged securities violations to the SEC. Martensen v. Chicago Stock Exchange, Case No. 17-cv-1494 (N.D. Ill.) (Shadur, J.) Plaintiff worked as a supervisor … Continue Reading

The First Hundred Days: Whistleblowing in the New Administration

With the new administration comes a new era for whistleblowing. High-risk whistleblower complaints implicating Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley and similar state whistleblower retaliation statutes continue to rise. These complaints often rise to the highest levels of a company’s legal and compliance functions, as they present significant financial and reputational risks. Proskauer’s Lloyd Chinn and Harris Mufson recently … Continue Reading

CFTC Amends Whistleblower Rules to Strengthen Anti-Retaliation Protections and Encourage Whistleblower Tips

On May 22, 2017, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC” or the “Commission”) adopted several additions to its whistleblower rules.  Among other things, the amendments expand the Commission’s power to pursue anti-retaliation claims on behalf of whistleblowers and, like the SEC, now prohibit confidentiality agreements that “impede” a whistleblower’s communications with the CFTC.   The CFTC … Continue Reading

The Northern District of New York Applies the “Reasonable Belief” Standard

On May 11, 2017, the Northern District of New York applied the Second Circuit’s standard for evaluating a Dodd-Frank retaliation claim in response to a motion to dismiss under F.R.C.P. Rule 12(b)(6).  The court denied the employer’s motion to dismiss unlawful retaliation claims brought by a former employee under Dodd-Frank, finding that the whistleblower had … Continue Reading

California Federal Court Upholds $8 Million Jury Verdict In Former General Counsel’s Whistleblower Lawsuit

Recently, a California federal court denied the defendant–employer’s motion for a new trial, upholding the jury’s $7.96 million verdict finding that the Company terminated its former general counsel for reporting alleged Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.  See Sanford S. Wadler v. Bio-Rad Labs., Inc. et al., 2017 WL 1910057 (N.D. Cal. May 10, 2017).… Continue Reading

SEC Announces First Whistleblower Award During Trump Era

On April 25, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Dodd-Frank whistleblower award of nearly $4 million.  This was the first bounty award that was issued from start-to-finish (i.e. from the preliminary determination stage through final order) since Trump’s inauguration.  To maintain the whistleblower’s confidentiality, the SEC declined to disclose the organization involved.  The agency did acknowledge, however, that … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Revives In-House Attorney’s Whistleblower Claim

On April 12, 2017, the Third Circuit partially revived a former in-house attorney’s whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against his previous employer.  Danon v. Vanguard Group, Inc., No. 16-cv-2881. Plaintiff, a former in-house tax lawyer, previously raised retaliation claims against the Company in New York State Court under the New York False Claims Act, alleging he was … Continue Reading

Texas District Court Dismisses SOX Whistleblower Claim For Lack of Protected Activity

On March 21, 2017, the Northern District of Texas dismissed a former employee’s whistleblower retaliation claim on the ground that her allegations of fraud were too far removed from potentially harming the shareholders of a publicly-traded company to be covered under SOX’s anti-retaliation protections. Brown v. Colonial Savings, F.A., No. 4:16-cv-00884 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 21, … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Passes On Opportunity To Address Scope of Dodd-Frank “Whistleblower” Provision

On Monday, March 20, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Verble v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC. (No. 16-946), thereby declining an opportunity to resolve a conflict amongst circuit courts as to whether Dodd Frank’s anti-retaliation protections extend to employees who do not report an alleged securities violation … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit — Dodd-Frank Protects Internal Whistleblowers

On March 8, 2017, a split three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a Northern District of California decision declining to dismiss a Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claim because the plaintiff did not report his concerns to the SEC. Somers v. Digital Realty Trust, 15-17352 (9th Cir. March 8, 2017).  The Ninth Circuit … Continue Reading

Maryland District Court Dismisses SOX and Dodd Frank Whistleblower Claims

On March 1, 2017, the District of Maryland dismissed a Dodd Frank whistleblower retaliation claim because the plaintiff failed to allege that he had complained directly to the SEC about a violation of securities laws, and dismissed the plaintiff’s SOX whistleblower retaliation claim because the complaint did not allege that the employer was a publically … Continue Reading

S.D.N.Y. Dismisses Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Retaliation Claim

In one of the first cases to address the standard governing a motion for summary judgment in a Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation case, Judge Jed S. Rakoff ruled that two former executives of Vista Outdoor Inc. (the Company) had failed to show that their terminations were causally connected to vague complaints about internal Company controls.  Vista … Continue Reading

Proskauer to Present on Modern Whistleblower Retaliation Law and the SEC Bounty Program at Bloomberg’s BNA Webinar

On Friday, March 3, 2017, Proskauer Partner Steve Pearlman will present on key aspects of modern whistleblower retaliation law, SEC enforcement actions involving “pre-taliation,” and the SEC Office of the Whistleblower bounty program. Pearlman is the co-head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group.  He will join co-panelist Sean X. McKessy, Partner, Phillips & Cohen LLP, … Continue Reading

Proskauer Joins Heads of SEC & OSHA Whistleblower Programs in Webinar

On 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; … Continue Reading

SDNY Refuses to Dismiss Executive’s Dodd-Frank Retaliation Claim

On August 24, 2016, the Southern District of New York denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss a Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claim brought by its former co-CEO and Executive Chairman of its Board of Directors, finding that the Plaintiff made a protected complaint alleging securities law violations to a person with supervisory authority.  Kuhns v. Ledger, No. … Continue Reading

CFTC Proposes New Amendments to its Whistleblower Rules

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC” or the “Commission”) has proposed numerous amendments to the Whistleblower Rules found in Part 165 of the CFTC’s Regulations. The Commission seeks to enhance the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and clarify staff authority to administer the whistleblower program through the proposed amendments. Significantly, the CFTC has proposed … Continue Reading

SEC Issues $22 Million Whistleblower Award

On August 30, 2016, the SEC issued a $22 million whistleblower bounty award to an individual “whose detailed tip and extensive assistance helped the agency halt a well-hidden fraud” at the whistleblower’s employer. The Acting Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, credited the “company insider,” stating “[w]ithout this whistleblower’s courage, information, and assistance, it … Continue Reading

Wisconsin District Court Follows 5th Circuit: Internal Tipsters Are Not Considered “Whistleblowers” Under Dodd-Frank

On August 12, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Lamb v. Rockwell Automation Inc., No. 15-CV-1415-JPS (E.D. Wis. Aug. 12, 2016) held that the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protection provision (Section 922) only protects individuals who provide information to the SEC.  In so holding, the court adopted the Fifth Circuit’s holding … Continue Reading

SEC Penalizes Company For Severance Language Purportedly Impeding Complaints

On August 10, 2016, the SEC announced that BlueLinx Holdings Inc. (Company) is settling charges that it violated Rule 21F-17 by requiring outgoing employees to waive whistleblower bounty awards in connection with severance agreements and by using an overly restrictive confidentiality clause.  The Company agreed to pay a penalty of $265,000 and revise its agreements.  … Continue Reading
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