Category Archives: Dodd Frank

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SEC Awards Whistleblower More Than $700,000

On January 15, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower (“OWB”) announced the award of more than $700,000 to a “company outsider who conducted a detailed analysis that led to a successful SEC enforcement action.”  This award is significant because the whistleblower provided independent analysis to the SEC, rather than inside information … Continue Reading

S.D.N.Y Dismisses Former Employee’s SOX and Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claims

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently granted a motion for summary judgment dismissing a plaintiff’s SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims. The court ruled that the plaintiff failed to establish retaliation because:  (1) almost all of the plaintiff’s alleged protected activity did not allege shareholder fraud and therefore failed; and (2) the … Continue Reading

Tennessee District Court Limits Scope of Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim

The Eastern District of Tennessee recently dismissed whistleblower claims, finding that the Plaintiff was not entitled to protection under Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, or the False Claims Act (“FCA”).  Verble v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC et al., 3:15-cv-00074 (E.D. Tenn. Dec. 8, 2015).  The court’s decision illustrates the sharp divide amongst courts regarding the scope of … Continue Reading

N.D. Cal.: Internal Whistleblowers Are Protected and May Sue Individual Directors

On October 23, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California largely denied a motion to dismiss a whistleblower retaliation claim brought by a company’s former general counsel, ruling that:  (I) the SOX and Dodd-Frank anti-retaliation provisions provide for individual liability against board members; and (ii) the Dodd-Frank anti-retaliation provision protects internal … Continue Reading

CFTC Issues Second Whistleblower Award To The Tune Of $290,000

On September 29, 2015, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it will make its second award as part of its whistleblower program, which was created by Dodd-Frank.  The tipster will receive a bounty of approximately $290,000.  Notably absent from  the CFTC’s press release regarding the award were any details about the whistleblower … Continue Reading

California District Court Follows Asadi, Dismisses Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim

On September 8, 2015, the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed a whistleblower retaliation claim, ruling that Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation provision only protects whistleblowers who provide information to the SEC.  The court’s decision (which was issued two days before the Second Circuit’s decision in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy) demonstrates that courts continue … Continue Reading

Second Circuit: Dodd-Frank Protects Internal Whistleblowers

Today, the Second Circuit issued its highly anticipated decision in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy, ruling (in a 2-1 decision) that Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower protection provision applies to internal complaints (i.e., complaints that are made by employees within the company and not to the SEC).  This creates a circuit split; it is directly at odds with the Fifth … Continue Reading

New Jersey District Court: Dodd-Frank Protects Internal Whistleblower

Further reflecting the divide amongst courts regarding the definition of “whistleblower” under the Dodd-Frank Act, the District Court of New Jersey recently held that an employee who internally reports an alleged securities law violation is subject to the statute’s anti-retaliation protections.  Dressler v. Lime Energy, No. 3:14-cv-07060, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106532 (D.N.J. Aug. 13, … Continue Reading

Cal. Court Limits Protected Activity Under Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Provision

In Nazif v. Computer Sciences Corporation, No. 13-cv-5498 (N.D. Cal. June 17, 2015), the Northern District of California granted Defendant Computer Sciences Corp. (Company) summary judgment on Plaintiff Nazif’s Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claim, concluding there was no evidence that his purported belief that the Company violated securities laws was objectively reasonable under Section 806 of … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Entertains Argument on Scope of Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Provision

The Second Circuit recently entertained oral argument in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy, focusing on whether the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protection provision covers individuals who only complain internally about alleged securities law violations rather than reaching out to the SEC.  We previously posted on the Southern District of New York’s December 5, 2014 ruling in this matter that … Continue Reading

CFTC Whistleblower Awards On The Horizon

In a recent interview with Law360 (subscription required), Chris Ehrman, the Director of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Whistleblower Office, predicted that the number and size of the CFTC’s whistleblower awards will increase in the near future.   Ehrman also said that the agency will conduct “straight marketing” to ensure that potential whistleblowers are aware … Continue Reading

Proskauer Participates With Head of SEC Whistleblower Program in 4/22/15 Webinar

Proskauer Partner Connie N. Bertram, co-head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Practice, participated in a webinar last week with Sean McKessy, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. The webinar, sponsored by the American Bar Association, was entitled “New Developments in Whistleblower Claims and the SEC.” The participants discussed the Supreme Court’s recent decision … Continue Reading

SEC’s Limit on Retroactivity of Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Bounty Awards Is Reasonable, Second Circuit Holds

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently deferred to the SEC’s determination that a tipster who provided information to the Commission before July 21, 2010, the effective date of the Dodd-Frank Act, is not eligible to receive a whistleblower bounty payment.   Stryker v. SEC, Case No. 13-4404-ag (2d Cir. Mar. 11, 2015).… Continue Reading

Another SEC Whistleblower Amicus Brief On Whether Dodd-Frank Covers Internal Complaints

On February 6, the SEC filed its third amicus brief defending its interpretive rule on Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation provision, 15 U.S.C. §78u-6(h)(1).  The impetus is a ruling out of the Southern District of New York in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy, No. 14-cv-523, which follows the Fifth Circuit Asadi decision concluding that the Dodd-Frank anti-retaliation provision does not … Continue Reading

SDNY Follows Asadi: Internal Tipsters Not Dodd-Frank “Whistleblowers”

On December 5, 2014, the Southern District of New York in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy, No. 14-cv-523, ruled that an employee who complains internally about securities law violations does not qualify as a “whistleblower” under the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protection provision because that statute only protects individuals who report to the SEC.  The court followed the Fifth … Continue Reading

SEC’s Second Amicus Brief On Whether Dodd-Frank Protects Internal Reports

On December 11, 2014, the SEC filed an amicus brief in support of Plaintiff-Appellant Mikael Safarian asking the Third Circuit to revive his Dodd-Frank whistleblower claim and endorse the agency’s definition of “whistleblower” as including individuals who only report internally.  If the Third Circuit addresses this issue—and it might not since it was not a … Continue Reading

3d Cir.: Dodd-Frank Anti-Arbitration Provisions Do Not Apply To Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Retaliation Claims

On December 8, 2014, the Third Circuit ruled that Dodd-Frank’s anti-arbitration provisions do not invalidate pre-dispute arbitration agreements with respect to whistleblower retaliation claims brought pursuant to the anti-retaliation provision in Dodd-Frank, 15 U.S.C. §78u-6(h)(1)(A).  Khazin v. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., No. 14-689, –F.3d–, 2014 WL 6871393 (3d Cir. 2014).… Continue Reading

Court Follows 5th Circuit Asadi Decision, Dismisses Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Verfuerth v. Orion Energy Systems, Inc., No. 14-cv-352 (E.D. Wis. Nov. 4, 2014) recently ruled that the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protection provision does not protect employees who only report alleged violations of the securities laws internally.  In dismissing a former CEO’s whistleblower retaliation claim, the … Continue Reading

California Court Allows Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claims to Proceed Despite Absence of Complaint to SEC

In a case of first impression within the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the whistleblower protection provision in Dodd-Frank protects whistleblowers who report alleged violations both internally and to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Connolly v. Wolfgang Remkes, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153439 (N.D. Cal. Oct. … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Sizes Up Dodd-Frank’s Anti-Arbitration Provision

On October 24, 2014, in Khazin v. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp, et al., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit heard oral argument on an issue of first impression (within that forum):  whether Dodd-Frank applies retroactively to invalidate pre-dispute arbitration agreements.  Dodd Frank expressly invalidates pre-dispute arbitration agreements of whistleblower claims brought under … Continue Reading
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