As we have reported previously, federal courts are currently split on the question of whether the anti-retaliation provisions of the federal Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) apply to employees who disclose their employer’s alleged securities violations to company officials but do not report the claimed violations to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Below is an update on the lawsuits we have been following that state attorneys general and a state regulator have brought using their Dodd-Frank enforcement authority.
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.
California Court Allows Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claims to Proceed Despite Absence of Complaint to SEC
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.
I have read several reports quoting Mary Jo White, Chair of the SEC, as saying that the remaining Dodd-Frank corporate governance rulemakings will be out by year-end.
Failing to heed a powerful message from the Second Circuit, overseas plaintiffs are continuing to seek to pursue SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims.
On July 29, 2014, another Section 1042 lawsuit was filed jointly by the Attorneys General of Florida and Connecticut in a Florida federal court.
In the most recent exercise of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s expanded enforcement authority under the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC filed a Complaint against attorney Jay Bruce Grossman claiming that Grossman aided the fraud of Hunter Wise Commodities and various dealers and intermediaries.
In Liu v. Siemens A.G., No. 13-cv-4385, 2014 WL 3953672 (2d Cir. Aug. 14, 2014), the Second Circuit affirmed that the anti-retaliation provision in Section 922 of Dodd-Frank does not apply extraterritorially.
In the latest fiscal year report of the SEC Office of the Whistleblower, the agency reported that as of the end of the 2013 fiscal year it had received a total of 6,573 whistleblower reports since the the Dodd-Frank whistleblower program’s inception.