Category Archives: State-Specific Whistleblower Claims

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E.D. Virginia Tosses Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim for Lack of SEC Complaint

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia recently granted a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claim brought by an ex-project manager, finding that Plaintiff failed to allege that her protected activity involved any disclosures to the SEC.  Smith v. Raytheon Co., No. 17-cv-00438 (E.D. Va. Aug. 11, 2017).… Continue Reading

Purported Whistleblower Barred from Pursuing Illinois Retaliatory Discharge Claim

The Northern District of Illinois recently dismissed an Indiana-based employee’s claims for retaliatory discharge in violation of common law pursuant to Illinois public policy, focusing on the nature of the connection (or lack thereof) to Illinois and noting that the plaintiff possessed adequate statutory remedies under federal whistleblower laws.  O’Risky v. Mead Johnson Nutrition Co., … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Revives In-House Attorney’s Whistleblower Claim

On July 25, 2017, the Third Circuit allowed a plaintiff who was an in-house attorney to proceed with a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) based on its conclusion that CEPA protects attorneys from being discharged for refusing to violate Rules of Professional Conduct. Trzaska v. L’Oreal USA, Inc., … Continue Reading

N.D. Illinois Dismisses Illinois Whistleblower Act Claim

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently granted a Rule 12(b)(1) and (6) motion to dismiss a former employee’s complaint alleging retaliation under the Illinois Whistleblower Act (“IWA”).  Huang v. Fluidmesh Networks, LLC, No. 16-cv-9566 (N.D. Ill. July 18, 2017). Background.  Plaintiff was a Supply Chain and Manufacturing Manager for Defendant.  … 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

Jury Rejects Whistleblower Claim By Former SpaceX Employee

On June 7, 2017, a California jury returned a 9-3 verdict, dismissing whistleblower claims brought by a former Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (“SpaceX”) employee.  Jason Blasdell v. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. et al., Case No. BC 615112 (Cal. Super., LA County). Jason Blasdell, who was employed as an Avionics Test Technician by SpaceX, a space … 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

Florida Private Sector Whistleblower Must Show Actual Violation of Law

The Middle District of Florida recently held that to establish a prima facie case under the Florida Private Whistleblower Act (FWA), § 448.102(3), Fla. Stat., a plaintiff must show an actual violation of a law, rule or regulation. Graddy v. Wal–Mart Stores E., LP, No. 5:16-CV-9-OC-28PRL (M.D. Fla. Feb. 14, 2017).… Continue Reading

Proskauer Represents Employer Against Former Executive Found Liable for Snooping on Boss’s and Others’ Emails

A former employee of the upscale outdoor furniture designer and manufacturer Brown Jordan recently failed in his bid to pursue whistleblower retaliation claims against the company and also found himself liable for snooping on his boss’s (and other’s) emails. A three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed the District Court’s summary judgment for the employer … Continue Reading

Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Whistleblower’s Multi-Million Dollar Award

On March 2, 2016, an Illinois Appellate court upheld a jury verdict awarding over $3 million to Plaintiff James Crowley (Plaintiff) on his whistleblower retaliation claim under the Illinois State Official and Employee Ethics Act (Ethics Act) (5 ILCS § 430/15-5, et seq.).  Crowley v. Watson, No. 1-14-2847 (Mar. 2, 2016). We previously reported on … Continue Reading

Two Illinois Federal Courts Rule That Illinois Whistleblower Act May Provide For Individual Liability

Two courts in the Northern District of Illinois recently ruled that the Illinois Whistleblower Act (IWA) (740 ILCS § 174/5) provides for individual liability.  Bello v. Village of Skokie, No. 14-cv-1718 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 2, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2015); Hower v. Cook County Sheriff’s Office, No. 15-cv-6404 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 16, 2016).… Continue Reading

N.D. Ill. Expands Definition of Protected Activity Under Ill. Whistleblower Act

On October 29, 2015, the Northern District of Illinois concluded that an employee who called police regarding suspected shoplifting—in violation of company policy—succeeded in proving a claim under the Illinois Whistleblower Act (IWA).  Coffey v. DSW Shoe Warehouse, Inc., No. 14-cv-4365.  The court granted the Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and denied the Defendant’s motion for summary … Continue Reading

Cal. App. Court Finds in Favor of Whistleblower Who Never Complained of Unlawful Conduct by the Employer

In Cardenas v. M. Fanaian, D.D.S., Inc., Case No. F069305 (Cal. App. 5 Dist.), a California Court of Appeal determined that Plaintiff Cardenas could pursue a California Labor Code Section 1102.5 retaliation claim against her former employer, M. Fanaian, D.D.S., Inc. (“Company”) based on her allegation that it discharged her because she reported her coworker’s … Continue Reading

Frivolous Whistleblower Claim Yields Stiff Sanctions

The New Jersey Appellate Division recently upheld sanctions of more than $191,000 to Sunhillo Corporation (Company) in connection with its defense of claims under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, Fulton v. Sunhillo Corp., No. A-3950-13T2, 2015 WL 4390550 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Jul. 20, 2015), finding the whistleblower claims frivolous.… Continue Reading

New York’s First Department: Harassment Claims Not Barred By Whistleblower Claim

As reported by New York Law Journal reporter Ben Bedell, the New York’s Appellate Division, First Department recently held that employees could file suit against their former employer for both sexual harassment and violation of New York’s whistleblower protection law even though the statute bars employees from seeking remedies available under any other law.… Continue Reading

N.J. High Court Rules “Watchdog” Employees Protected Under State Whistleblower Law

On July 15, 2015, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled that an employee who monitors corporate compliance—a so-called “watchdog” employee—can engage in protected activity by blowing the whistle under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”) in the course of performing the tasks and functions of the job for which he or she … Continue Reading

Self-Help Discovery Does Not Immunize Employee from Prosecution, Says NJ Supreme Court

On June 23, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corporation, 204 N.J. 239 (2010), does not bar criminal prosecutions arising from an employee’s removal of confidential company documents to support a discrimination claim.  State v. Saavedra, No. A-68-13.… Continue Reading

No “Pleasure” for Florida Whistleblower

Despite 14 pages of vigorous dissent, a majority of a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit has done the right thing and joined the Fourth, Sixth and Ninth Circuits in holding that the National Bank Act (“NBA”) preempts state wrongful discharge claims.  In its May 5, 2015, decision, the majority concluded that the NBA’s language empowering banks to “dismiss … Continue Reading

Washington Jury Awards “Perceived” Whistleblower $1 Million

In a jury verdict issued on March 26, 2015, a supervisor for the nation’s largest ferry system was awarded $1 million because the jury concluded that his employer demoted him as an act of retaliation in violation of the Washington State Employee Whistleblower Protection Act because he was believed—albeit inaccurately—to be a whistleblower.  Chaussee v. … Continue Reading

NY Whistleblower Bounty Program On The Horizon?

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently announced his plans to propose legislation that would create a whistleblower incentive program at the state level.  The proposal, titled the Financial Frauds Whistleblower Act, would provide monetary awards to eligible individuals who report original information about illegal activity in the banking, insurance, and financial services industries.  The Financial … Continue Reading

Cal. App. Court Finds in Favor of “Whistleblower” Who Never Blew the Whistle

In Diego v. Pilgrim United Church of Christ, — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2014 WL 6602601 (Cal. App. 4 Dist.) (available here), the California Court of Appeal determined that Cecilia Diego (Plaintiff) could pursue a common law public policy retaliation claim against her former employer, Pilgrim United Church of Christ (the Church), based on her allegations that … Continue Reading

Further Expanding An Already Expansive NJ Whistleblowing Law

Often touted as the most expansive state whistleblowing law in the U.S., New Jersey’s seemingly boundless Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”) may get even broader.   On October 9, 2014, New Jersey’s Senate Labor Committee approved bill S768, which would expand CEPA to prohibit workplace retaliation against public employees who disclose or object to “a substantial … Continue Reading

Court Affirms $3M Jury Award In Illinois Whistleblower Action

On August 28, 2014, Judge James McCarthy issued a decision in Crawley v. Chicago State University, Case No. 10 L 12657 (Cook County, Ill., Law Div.), affirming payment of over $3 million to Plaintiff James Crowley (“Plaintiff”), a former Chicago State University (“University”) Senior Legal Counsel, following a jury trial on his whistleblower retaliation claim … Continue Reading
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