On March 11, 2019, a federal court in Minnesota rejected an employer’s attempt to litigate a plaintiff’s state-law whistleblower claim in a federal forum, ruling it was insufficient that the plaintiff alleged violations of federal regulations because the narrow exception to federal-question jurisdiction was not present. Martinson v. Mahube-Otwa Cmty.
Andrew M. Sherwood is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Group. His practice focuses on defending employers in state and federal court lawsuits and alternative dispute resolution forums against claims of discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, defamation and breach of contract.
From 2010 through 2012, Andrew served as an honors trial attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where he litigated anti-discrimination claims against private employers and managed administrative investigations.
On March 4, 2019, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a whistleblower award totaling more than $2 million to be paid to an individual whistleblower, as part of its Dodd-Frank whistleblower program. This award is particularly interesting because the whistleblower “provide[d] critical information through independent analysis of market…
On July 12, 2018, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued its largest whistleblower award ever, approximately $30 million, as part of its Dodd-Frank whistleblower program. This is the first award under the Trump Administration, and only the fifth award that the CFTC has issued since the inception of…
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).
A California Magistrate Judge in BofI Federal Bank v. Erhart ruled that a whistleblower’s attorney’s communications sent to federal regulators were protected by the attorney work product doctrine. No. 15-cv-2353 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 5, 2016). The court concluded that the whistleblower’s attorney had not waived work product protection through her disclosure to third-party regulators, finding that she and the regulators shared a common interest.
On July 19, 2016, the SEC issued an order upholding the SEC Claims Review Staff’s (“CRS”) Preliminary Determination denying three claims for whistleblower awards. The SEC’s order explains how the claimants’ bounty requests were properly denied for failing to meet the SEC’s eligibility requirements. As we have previously discussed here, all but a few whistleblower tips fail to lead to any award; this order serves as a reminder that a whistleblower’s information must have, in the SEC’s view, “significantly contributed to the success of [its] action.” 17 C.F.R. § 240.21F-4(c).
The SEC announced today the departure of Sean X. McKessy, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. Mr. McKessy was the first to hold that role and started his post in February 2011. Mr. McKessy is credited with developing and establishing the Dodd-Frank whistleblower bounty program from complaint intake to prosecution to the payment of substantial monetary awards to whistleblowers.
On February 2, 2016, the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the SOX whistleblower retaliation claim in the closely watched case of Weist v. Tyco Electronics Corp., No. 15-2034. We have posted on key events during the life of this case for several years, here (covering the district court’s grant of summary judgment), here (analyzing the Third Circuit’s opinion regarding questions concerning protected activity), and here (reviewing the Company’s request for en banc review). The Third Circuit provided an instructive analysis on key causation issues in this most recent opinion.
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 of wrongdoing.