Lloyd B. Chinn

Lloyd B. Chinn

Partner

Lloyd B. Chinn is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group. He litigates employment disputes of all types before federal and state courts, arbitration tribunals (e.g., FINRA, JAMS and AAA), and before administrative agencies in New York and across the country. Lloyd's practice ranges from litigating compensation disputes to defending whistleblower, discrimination and sexual harassment claims. Although he represents employers in a wide range of industries, including law, insurance, health care, consulting, media, education and technology, he focuses a substantial portion of his practice on the financial services sector. He has tried to final verdict or arbitration award substantial disputes in this area.

Due to Lloyd’s litigation experience, clients regularly turn to him for advice regarding the full range of employment matters, including terminations, whistleblower policy and procedure, reductions in force, employment agreements, and employment policies. For example, in the wake of the financial crisis, he has counseled a number of firms through reductions in force and related bonus and deferred compensation disputes. Lloyd has also been retained to conduct internal investigations of allegations of workplace misconduct, including claims leveled against senior executives.

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Tennessee District Court Limits Scope of Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim

The Eastern District of Tennessee recently dismissed whistleblower claims, finding that the Plaintiff was not entitled to protection under Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, or the False Claims Act (“FCA”).  Verble v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC et al., 3:15-cv-00074 (E.D. Tenn. Dec. 8, 2015).  The court’s decision illustrates the sharp divide amongst courts regarding the scope of … Continue Reading

Highlights of SEC’s 2015 Annual Whistleblower Report

On November 16, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower (“OWB”) released its fifth Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program to Congress, which details information on OWB’s activities and bounty payouts for the fiscal year, as described in our posts on the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Annual Reports. In its 2015 … Continue Reading

Second Circuit: Dodd-Frank Protects Internal Whistleblowers

Today, the Second Circuit issued its highly anticipated decision in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy, ruling (in a 2-1 decision) that Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower protection provision applies to internal complaints (i.e., complaints that are made by employees within the company and not to the SEC).  This creates a circuit split; it is directly at odds with the Fifth … Continue Reading

SEC Issues Interpretive Rule Regarding Definition of Dodd-Frank “Whistleblower”

In response to the disagreement amongst courts regarding the scope of Dodd-Frank’s employment retaliation protections, on August 4, 2015, the SEC issued an “interpretive rule” clarifying that individuals who have not reported alleged misconduct to the SEC may nevertheless qualify as “whistleblowers”.… 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

SEC Announces Enforcement Action Regarding Employee Confidentiality Agreement

On April 1, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its first settlement of an enforcement action under the SEC’s Rule 21F-17, which prohibits any person from taking “any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation, including enforcing, or threatening to enforce, a confidentiality … 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

Consumer Financial Product Whistleblower Complaints Up Dramatically, SOX Complaints (with OSHA) Down

Since the enactment of Dodd-Frank in 2010, the number of whistleblower complaints filed under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (“CFPA”) has risen significantly while the number of SOX complaints filed with OSHA has largely declined.  According to data provided by OSHA, the total number of whistleblower complaints has generally increased over the past ten years.  This … Continue Reading

New York Times: Bounty Programs Incentivize Wrongdoers to Collect

We have seen a number of substantial whistleblower awards make headlines this year, but a recent article on nytimes.com discusses the potential downsides of government-sponsored bounty programs: rewarding whistleblowers by paying them millions of dollars for information may lead to perverse incentives by allowing wrongdoers to win significant sums of money with little government accountability … Continue Reading

New York Times Discusses the Growth of Whistleblower Programs

As federal agencies dole out record-breaking awards to tipsters (such as the SEC’s recent $30 million award), whistleblower programs remain a topic of public interest.  Earlier this month, The New York Times published an article about the growth of the whistleblower programs operated by the S.E.C., Justice Department, and I.R.S, which financially incentivize the reporting of misconduct.… Continue Reading

Highlights of SEC’s 2014 Annual Report

On November 17, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower (“OWB”) released its fourth Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program to Congress, which details information on OWB’s activities and bounty payouts for the fiscal year, as described in our posts on the 2012 and 2013 Annual Reports. In its 2014 report, … Continue Reading

Court Follows 5th Circuit Asadi Decision, Dismisses Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Verfuerth v. Orion Energy Systems, Inc., No. 14-cv-352 (E.D. Wis. Nov. 4, 2014) recently ruled that the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protection provision does not protect employees who only report alleged violations of the securities laws internally.  In dismissing a former CEO’s whistleblower retaliation claim, the … Continue Reading

FINRA Again Cautions Against Confidentiality Provisions Silencing Whistleblowers

As reported this week by Law360 (subscription required), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently issued a reminder (Regulatory Notice 14-40) warning firms against the use of confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements that prohibit or otherwise restrict customers or anyone else (such as current employees) from communicating with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), FINRA, or … Continue Reading

SDNY Dismisses Extraterritorial SOX and Dodd Frank Whistleblower Claims

Overseas plaintiffs are continuing to seek to pursue  SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims.  On September 30, 2014, the Southern District of New York in Ulrich v. Moody’s Corp., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138082 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2014), dismissed SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims on the grounds that the statutes’ respective anti-retaliation provisions do not apply … Continue Reading

SEC Issues Whistleblower Award, Waives Voluntary Requirement

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decided that a whistleblower who did not “voluntarily” provide information to the SEC was nonetheless eligible to receive a monetary award of $400,000. The whistleblower’s disclosure was not voluntary under the SEC’s own rules because it occurred after a previous inquiry to the company by a self-regulatory organization.  Nevertheless, the … Continue Reading

SEC Denies Whistleblower Award Claim for Harbinger-Falcone Recovery

As recently reported by Ed Benson of Law 360, on July 4th, 2014, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC” or “Commission”) issued a final order that denied a whistleblower award claim on the $18 million that the SEC recovered in a settlement agreement with Harbinger Capital Partners LLC (“Harbinger”) and the company’s … Continue Reading

Watchdogs Petition SEC to Strengthen Prohibitions Against Impeding Complaints to SEC

On July 18, 2014, a coalition of plaintiff-side lawyers and government watchdog groups proposed ways to strengthen the SEC whistleblower program in two petitions filed with the SEC.  The groups urged the SEC to update Rule 21F-17, which prohibits any action that would “impede” an individual from communicating with the SEC about securities law violations, … Continue Reading

SEC Brings First Dodd-Frank Anti-Retaliation Case

The SEC recently issued an Order against Paradigm Capital Management, Inc. (Paradigm), a registered investment adviser, and its principal for allegedly engaging in principal trades without effective client disclosure and consent, and for retaliating against an employee who reported such activity to the SEC.  According to the SEC, this is the first enforcement action it … Continue Reading

UK Whistleblowing Protection Extended to Partners

In the UK, whistleblowing law is based on a statute prohibiting a “worker” being dismissed or subjected to any other detriment because of having made a “protected disclosure”.  Until this week, the general view was that the definition of “worker”, and therefore whistleblowing protection, did not extend to partners. There were many reasons for this … Continue Reading
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