US Supreme CourtOn 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 to the SEC. 


Plaintiff-Petitioner John Verble (“Plaintiff”) alleged that he was terminated from his position at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC in retaliation for his being a confidential informant to the FBI.  The District Court dismissed the Plaintiff’s Dodd-Frank retaliation claim, holding that “[b]ecause plaintiff did not provide information to the SEC before his termination, he does not qualify as a whistleblower as defined in Dodd-Frank” for protection under the anti-retaliation provision.  The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Plaintiff’s Dodd-Frank retaliation claim, but did so on different grounds than the district court and did not reach the issue concerning the scope of Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation provision.

On January 26, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, and on March 21, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court denied that petition.


Circuit Courts continue to remain divided as to whether Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation protections extend to whistleblowers who make internal complaints but do not complain to the SEC—the Second Circuit’s decision in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy LLC, 801 F.3d 145 (2d Cir. 2015) directs that a Dodd-Frank “whistleblower” need not report an alleged violation to the SEC, whereas the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Asadi v. G.E. Energy (USA), LLC, 720 F.3d 620 (5th Cir. 2013) reaches the opposite conclusion.

Notably, after Plaintiff filed his Petition for Writ of Certiorari, the Ninth Circuit deepened the circuit split by agreeing with the Second Circuit that employees who only complain internally are protected from retaliation.  Somers v. Digital Realty Trust Inc.  (No. 15-cv-17352).  The Third Circuit is also poised to weigh in on the issue in its upcoming decision in Danon v. Vanguard Group, Inc. (No. 16-cv-2881).  Until the Supreme Court addresses this important issue, we expect that courts will continue to issue conflicting decisions as to who is a covered “whistleblower” under Dodd Frank.



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Photo of Edward Young Edward Young

Edward “Eddie” C. Young is a senior counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the following Firm practice groups: Restrictive Covenants & Trade Secrets; Discrimination, Harassment & Title VII; and Whistleblowing & Retaliation.

Eddie represents employers in all…

Edward “Eddie” C. Young is a senior counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the following Firm practice groups: Restrictive Covenants & Trade Secrets; Discrimination, Harassment & Title VII; and Whistleblowing & Retaliation.

Eddie represents employers in all aspects of employment law, with a concentration on litigating complex employment disputes of all types before federal and state courts throughout the country, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, state and local human rights commissions and arbitral tribunals (e.g., FINRA and AAA).  In particular, Eddie has successfully litigated employment-related disputes alleging breach of non-compete agreements, theft of trade secrets, discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblower retaliation, wage and hour violations, including employee misclassification claims, breach of contract, defamation, fraud and other business-related torts.  Eddie has obtained a world-wide injunction to enforce a client’s non-competition restriction on a former executive, successfully defended a client through summary judgment and appeal against retaliation claims brought by a former General Counsel, represented Fortune 500 companies in defense of high-profile harassment claims associated with the #metoo movement, and provided representation to several professional sports leagues.  He also has significant appellate experience, including successfully representing clients before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the First, Second and Seventh Circuits, as well as before the United States Supreme Court.  Eddie often draws on his litigation experience to help clients avoid the courtroom by effectuating positive change in the workplace through impactful training, counseling and developing robust employment policies.

Working in a wide range of industries, Eddie represented clients in food services, financial services, medical devices, telecommunications, higher education, sports, retail, real estate and others.

Eddie has been recognized as “One to Watch” by Best Lawyers in America since 2021 and as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers since 2017. He also regularly advises clients, writes and speaks on cutting-edge legal issues, including the use of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace, and legal issues arising from the collection and use of employee biometric information.

Eddie maintains an active pro bono practice, including on-going representation of a certified class of approximately 65,000 visually disabled Chicagoans in litigation challenging the City’s lack of accessible pedestrian crosswalks.  Eddie is also a member of the Firm’s Pro-Bono Committee and is a three-time recipient of the Firm’s “Golden Gavel” award for his significant pro bono contributions.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Eddie was a cum laude graduate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He also obtained a Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from Loyola University Chicago Graduate School of Business. He began his practice at a national management-side employment law firm, and has also worked in the corporate human resources department of a national tax consulting firm and as a Fellow with the Illinois Human Rights Commission.