Gail Westover

Gail Westover

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

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STOLI Scheme Saved By Expiration of Contestability Clause

On September 22, the Florida Supreme Court in Wells Fargo Bank NA v. Pruco Life Insurance Co., No. SC15-382 (Fla. Sept. 22, 2016) denied Pruco Life Insurance Company’s challenge to the validity of an insurance policy...more

10/5/2016 - FL Supreme Court Insurance Litigation Life Insurance STOLI Wells Fargo

What Is Your Starting Salary? New FLSA Regulations Raise The Bar For U.S. Employers

Employers with salaried employees earning under $47,476 annually should evaluate the impact on their organizations of major changes to employee compensation following new federal wage requirements effective December 1,...more

5/24/2016 - DOL Educational Institutions Final Rules FLSA Minimum Salary Misclassification Over-Time Standard Duties Test Wage and Hour White-Collar Exemptions

UPDATE: Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act Signed Into Law; Employers May Need to Notify Employees

After overwhelming passage in both the House and Senate, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act into law on April 11, 2016. The Act provides a truly uniform, nationwide set of standards for protecting trade...more

5/13/2016 - Consultants Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) Employment Contract Independent Contractors New Legislation Notice Requirements Private Right of Action Restrictive Covenants Trade Secrets Whistleblower Protection Policies

Basic-Supplemental Life Insurance Plan Pricing Structure Upheld in ERISA Class Action

An employee benefit plan that includes an alleged subsidization component for its basic and supplemental options is neither prohibited by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) nor a violation of the plan...more

5/5/2016 - Arm's Length Principle Benefit Plan Sponsors Class Action Dismissals Employee Benefits ERISA Fiduciary Duty Hartford Insurance Company Life Insurance Misrepresentation Popular Unjust Enrichment

UPDATE: Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act Clears the House, Passage into Law Expected

As expected, overwhelming support for the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 led to its passage in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday by a 410-2 vote. During the floor debate, one Congressman noted that “Congress has...more

4/29/2016 - Asset Seizure Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) Employment Contract Ex Parte Intellectual Property Protection Misappropriation Pending Legislation Private Right of Action Remedies Trade Secrets Whistleblower Protection Policies

Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act Clears the Senate: Is the Uniform Act on Life Support?

The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved a bill increasing the protections available to companies for their commercial secrets. The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA or the Act) provides for the first time a truly...more

4/12/2016 - Corporate Counsel Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) Employment Contract Intellectual Property Protection Misappropriation Pending Legislation Popular Private Right of Action Remedies Trade Secrets Uniform Trade Secrets Acts Whistleblower Protection Policies

“White Collar” Exemptions Defined and Delimited

On June 30, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its much-anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on “Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative,...more

7/10/2015 - Bonuses Comment Period DOL Exempt-Employees FLSA Incentive Compensation Multi-Factor Test NPRM Wage and Hour White-Collar Exemptions

U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Time Spent in Security Screenings Not Compensable Under FLSA

On December 9, 2014, the United States Supreme Court unanimously reversed a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit holding that warehouse employees had stated a claim for unpaid wages under the...more

12/12/2014 - FLSA Integrity Staffing v Busk SCOTUS Security Checks Wage and Hour

The Ninth Circuit Raises Pleading Standards for FLSA Plaintiffs

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit makes pleading Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations more difficult by applying the heightened standard in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft...more

11/21/2014 - Employer Liability Issues FLSA Minimum Wage Pleading Standards Twombly/Iqbal Pleading Standard Unpaid Overtime

Massachusetts Treasurer Demands National Mutual Fund Records in Multistate Unclaimed Property Audit

Late this summer, the Massachusetts Treasurer demanded mutual fund records on a nationwide basis as part of a multistate unclaimed property audit. Thirty-five (35) states are involved in the audit, but the Treasurer has...more

10/9/2014 - Audits Death Master Files IRA Mutual Funds Social Security Administration (SSA) Unclaimed Property

Legal Alert: Largest SEC Whistleblower Award Could Have Been Larger

On September 22, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced the largest-ever whistleblower award, more than double last year’s record-breaking award. According to the Order, the award, which will likely...more

9/26/2014 - Dodd-Frank Extraterritoriality Rules Foreign Nationals SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

Insurance Industry Sweeps Retained Asset Account Doubleheader

On August 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held in Vander Luitgaren v. Sun Life Ass. Co. of Canada, No. 13–2090, 2014 WL 4197947 (1st Cir. Aug. 26, 2014), that an insurer, acting as a claims administrator,...more

8/29/2014 - Appeals Employee Benefits ERISA Insurance Industry Life Insurance Retained Asset Accounts

Second Circuit Rejects Extraterritorial Application of Dodd-Frank’s Whistleblower Anti-Retaliation Provision

On August 14, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit became the first U.S. appellate court to weigh in on the extraterritorial application of the whistleblower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street...more

8/19/2014 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Appeals Chief Compliance Officers Dodd-Frank Extraterritoriality Rules FCPA Sarbanes-Oxley Siemens Whistleblowers

SEC Launches First Whistleblower Retaliation Case Under Dodd-Frank

On June 16, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated and resolved its first case charging an employer with unlawfully retaliating against a securities whistleblower under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street...more

6/23/2014 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Dodd-Frank Employer Liability Issues Enforcement Actions SEC Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act Whistleblowers

SEC Issues $875,000 Whistleblower Award

On June 3, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) issued a whistleblower award to two individuals who had provided information leading to a successful SEC enforcement action. The whistleblower...more

6/10/2014 - Dodd-Frank Enforcement Enforcement Actions SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

Texas Supreme Court Limits Fraud Claims by Terminated Employees

In a case of first impression, the Supreme Court of Texas declared that at-will employees may not bring an action for fraud that is contingent on the promise of continued at-will employment. The Court also held that...more

5/14/2014 - At-Will Employment Collective Bargaining Fraud Hiring & Firing Termination

Department of Labor Issues Interim Final Employee Whistleblower Rule Under the Consumer Financial Protection Act

On April 4, 2014, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Interim Final Rule establishing procedures concerning the manner in which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will address employee whistleblower...more

4/9/2014 - CFPA CFPB DOL OSHA Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Obama Issues Executive Order and Presidential Memorandum Concerning Equal Pay Initiatives for Federal Contractors

Yesterday, President Obama issued an Executive Order and Presidential Memorandum intended to address equal pay for women. The Executive Order prohibits federal contractors from retaliating against an applicant or employee...more

4/9/2014 - Equal Pay Executive Orders Federal Contractors OFCCP Retaliation Wage and Hour Wages

SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower Warns Companies and Inside Counsel Against Using Employment Incentives to Deter External...

During a recent panel discussion at the Georgetown University Law Center’s 18th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower, Sean McKessy, warned...more

3/20/2014 - Corporate Counsel SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Supreme Court Expands SOX Whistleblower Protection to Employees of Private Contractors of Public Companies

In the first SOX whistleblower case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court held on March 4 that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) prohibits private contractors of publicly traded companies from retaliating...more

3/6/2014 - Contractors Fidelity Investments FMR LLC Lawson v FMR Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley SCOTUS Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Supreme Court Defines “Changing Clothes” to Include Steelworkers’ Donning and Doffing of Certain Protective Gear

On January 27, 2014, the United States Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit holding that steelworkers’ donning and doffing of certain items of required protective...more

1/29/2014 - Collective Bargaining FLSA Sandifer v U.S. Steel Corp SCOTUS Unions Workplace Attire

Judicial Review of Government Contractor Suspensions

In recent years, the U.S. government has exercised enhanced scrutiny over federal contractors through, among other things, the increased use of its suspension and debarment remedies – fueled in part by reports of contractor...more

1/29/2014 - Affiliates COFC Department of Defense (DOD) Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) Federal Contractors Fraud and Abuse Suspensions & Debarments U.S. Navy

State Attorney General Parens Patriae Actions Are Not Removable to Federal Court as CAFA “Mass Actions”

This week the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Corp. that parens patriae actions in which the State is the sole plaintiff are not “mass actions” under the Class Action Fairness...more

1/17/2014 - CAFA Class Action Mass Action Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Parens Patriae Removal Rule 23 SCOTUS

Federal Courts Take Divergent Approaches to Jury Trials for Whistleblower Plaintiffs Under Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley

A recurring question under the federal whistleblower laws is whether plaintiffs suing their employers for retaliation have the right to a jury trial. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act1 appears...more

1/10/2014 - Adverse Employment Action Consumer Protection Act Dodd-Frank Employer Liability Issues Financial Regulatory Reform Hiring & Firing Jury Trial Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley SEC Securities Fraud Termination Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

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