On October 18, 2017, a federal district judge in Alaska ordered a former employee to pay nearly $170,000 of his ex-employer’s legal fees as sanction for removing nine attorney-client privileged documents prior to his termination. The ruling was based on a decision this summer that the former employee willfully and
On April 12, 2017, the Third Circuit partially revived a former in-house attorney’s whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against his previous employer. Danon v. Vanguard Group, Inc., No. 16-cv-2881.
Plaintiff, a former in-house tax lawyer, previously raised retaliation claims against the Company in New York State Court under the New York False Claims Act, alleging he was discharged in retaliation for informing senior employees of his belief that the Company was violating certain tax and corporate laws. The state court dismissed the case based on the plaintiff’s failure to demonstrate that the Company knew he was involved in any protected conduct at the time of his termination. Plaintiff then filed suit against the Company in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania alleging whistleblower retaliation in violation of SOX, Dodd-Frank, and the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law. His claims again were dismissed because the court determined he was precluded from asserting the Company’s knowledge of his allegedly protected conduct (we previously wrote about the SEC’s amicus brief to the district court in support of the plaintiff’s arguments here).
The Seventh Circuit recently issued a decision interpreting the anti-retaliation provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA). The decision provides important clarifications about how courts may interpret recent amendments to this provision. Like a recent decision by the Fourth Circuit, the Seventh Circuit finds that courts may inquire whether the employee’s underlying complaint of FCA fraud was objectively and subjectively reasonable. Using that standard, the Seventh Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of the whistleblower’s claim on a motion for summary judgment.
The Fourth Circuit recently issued a decision interpreting the anti-retaliation provision of the False Claims Act (FCA). The decision provides important clarification about how courts may interpret 2009 and 2010 amendments to the anti-retaliation provision. Specifically, it finds that courts may inquire whether the employee’s underlying complaint of FCA fraud is objectively and subjectively reasonable.
2014 was another busy year for developments in whistleblowing and retaliation law in New Jersey. This blog post summarizes noteworthy state and federal cases for employers to consider in the new year.
A federal circuit court decision issued last week recognizes important limitations on a relator’s ability to bring multiple lawsuits against the same contractor or alleging related fraud. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that allowing multiple suits by the same relator would violate the intent behind the “first-to-file” rule: preventing duplicative claims.
The relator, telecommunications consultant Stephen M. Shea, brought an initial lawsuit in 2007 claiming that Verizon had overbilled the GSA on two government contracts by including federal, state and local taxes in its bills. After the federal government intervened in the suit, Verizon paid $93.5 million to settle these claims. Shea’s share of the recovery was $19 million.