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. 28, 2014). More specifically, in this case, the court determined that a former employee qualified as Dodd-Frank whistleblower (at least for purposes of surviving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss) even though she only reported suspected securities law violations within the company.
On January 30, 2014, the California Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District ruled that California State courts have concurrent jurisdiction over retaliation claims under the federal False Claims Act (FCA) in Driscoll v. Superior Court (Spencer). The following addresses the basis for that ruling and its implications.
On October 12, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 496, which, along with two other new laws (SB 666 and AB 263), expands protections for whistleblowers in California by significantly altering California Labor Code Section 1102.5, California’s general whistleblower statute. The amendments are effective January 1, 2014.
On September 30, 2013, OSHA awarded more than $1.9 million to a former CFO of Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc. (the Company) (based in Ventura, California) who is not identified in OSHA’s press release. This award is based on OSHA’s finding that the Company violated Section 806 of SOX by discharging the CFO in retaliation for his warning the board of directors about financial concerns raised by a proposed merger.