The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin ruled that an Illinois-based bank employee could not state a claim under the whistleblower protection provision in Dodd-Frank because his complaints alleged violations of banking laws, not securities laws.  Zillges v. Kenney Bank & Trust, No. 13-cv-01287 (E.D. Wis. June 4, 2014).

A Seventh Circuit panel recently affirmed dismissal of a whistleblower claim under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (“ARRA”) where the complaint did not state a claim (for Rule 12(b)(6) purposes) for misuse or mismanagement of ARRA-covered funds.  Fuqua v. SVOX AG, Case No. 12-cv-1870 (7th Cir. May 16, 2014).

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently ruled that a retaliation claim survived summary judgment because of the “convincing mosaic” of evidence of retaliation the Plaintiff presented, particularly the employer’s purportedly shifting explanation regarding its reason for terminating her employment.  Wessman v. DDB Chicago Inc., No. 12-cv-6712 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 29, 2013).

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted a company summary judgment on an “associational retaliation” claim brought under Title VII by a temporary worker claiming the company ended her assignments because her (late) husband, who was an employee of the company, complained of discrimination.  Wilcox v. The Allstate Corp., No. 11-cv-814 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 17, 2012).   This case shows that associational discrimination claims are continuing to be pursued following U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Thompson v. North American Stainless, No. 09-cv-291 (Jan. 24, 2011), but are susceptible to dismissal where:  (i) the plaintiff is not an employee of the defendant company and the defendant did not have a hand in the challenged adverse action; (ii) there is doubt as to whether the person with whom the plaintiff was affiliated actually engaged in protected activity; and (iii) the causal nexus between the affiliate’s protected activity and plaintiff’s adverse action is tenuous.  Proskauer’s Steven J. Pearlman served as lead counsel for the defense.