Harris M. Mufson

Harris M. Mufson

Proskauer Rose LLP

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California District Court Follows Asadi, Dismisses Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim

On September 8, 2015, the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed a whistleblower retaliation claim, ruling that Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation provision only protects whistleblowers who...more

9/24/2015 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Dodd-Frank Internal Reporting SEC Split of Authority Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers Wrongful Termination

Second Circuit: Dodd-Frank Protects Internal Whistleblowers

On September 10, 2015, 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.,...more

9/11/2015 - Accounting Fraud Ambiguous Anti-Retaliation Provisions Chevron Deference Dodd-Frank DOL Internal Reporting Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers Wrongful Termination

New Jersey District Court: Dodd-Frank Protects Internal Whistleblower

Further reflecting the divide amongst courts regarding the definition of “whistleblower” under the Dodd-Frank Act, the District Court of New Jersey recently held that an employee who internally reports an alleged securities...more

8/27/2015 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Dodd-Frank Internal Reporting SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers Wrongful Termination

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...more

8/6/2015 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Dodd-Frank Internal Reporting Interpretive Rule Investor Protection Sarbanes-Oxley SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

SEC Pays More Than $3 Million Whistleblower Award

On July 17, 2015, the SEC announced a whistleblower award of more than $3 million to a “company insider” whose information assisted the SEC in unveiling a “complex fraud.” This payout (which is the SEC’s third largest)...more

7/24/2015 - Dodd-Frank SEC Securities Fraud Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

SEC Awards Compliance Officer Whistleblower Bounty of Approximately $1.5 Million

Wednesday, the SEC announced that it would pay an unidentified compliance officer a whistleblower bounty award of between $1.4 and $1.6 million. This is the second award that the SEC has made to a whistleblower with internal...more

4/23/2015 - Chief Compliance Officers Corporate Counsel Enforcement Actions Internal Audit Functions SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

Petition Urges DOL To Target Contractual Clauses Discouraging Whistleblowing

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) and Zuckerman Law recently petitioned the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) to issue rules and guidance prohibiting “de facto” gag clauses in settlement and severance agreements that...more

4/13/2015 - DOL FINRA Protected Activity SEC Settlement Agreements Severance Agreements Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

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...more

4/7/2015 - Confidentiality Agreements Enforcement Actions Internal Investigations KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root) Rule 21F SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

SEC’s Limit on Retroactivity of Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Bounty Awards Is Reasonable, Second Circuit Holds

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently deferred to the SEC’s determination that a tipster who provided information to the Commission before July 21, 2010, the effective date of the Dodd-Frank Act, is not eligible to...more

3/24/2015 - Dodd-Frank SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

SEC Continues to Investigate Contractual Impediments to Whistleblower Complaints

As Rachel Louise Ensign reported earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) continues to probe obstacles to corporate employees blowing the whistle. This...more

3/2/2015 - Audits Confidentiality Agreements Dodd-Frank Non-Compete Agreements SEC Settlement Agreements Strategic Enforcement Plan Whistleblowers

SDNY Follows Asadi: Internal Tipsters Not Dodd-Frank “Whistleblowers”

On December 5, 2014, the Southern District of New York in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy, No. 14-cv-523, ruled that an employee who complains internally about securities law violations does not qualify as a “whistleblower” under the...more

12/29/2014 - Dodd-Frank Employer Liability Issues Internal Reporting SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

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...more

12/23/2014 - DOJ Enforcement Actions IRS New York Times SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

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...more

11/20/2014 - Annual Reports Dodd-Frank SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblower Protection Policies

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...more

11/12/2014 - Dodd-Frank Federal Rule 12(b)(6) Federal Rules of Civil Procedure SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

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...more

10/20/2014 - Compliance Confidentiality Agreements Employer Liability Issues FINRA SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Second Circuit To Decide Retroactivity of Dodd-Frank Bounty Provision

As discussed in a Law360 article by Ed Beeson, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals will decide in Stryker v. SEC, No. 13-cv-4404, whether the SEC needs to pay Dodd-Frank whistleblower bounties to tipsters who provided...more

10/1/2014 - Appeals Dodd-Frank Retroactivity SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

SEC Announces $30 Million-Plus Whistleblower Award

The SEC announced an expected award of more than $30 million to a foreign whistleblower who provided “key original information” that led to a successful enforcement action by the agency. The award will be the largest made by...more

9/24/2014 - Enforcement Enforcement Actions SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

Larger Rewards For Wall Street Whistleblowers May Be On The Horizon

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration will seek to remove the $1.6 million cap on rewards to whistleblowers who provide evidence of criminal conduct by financial executives under the 1989 Financial...more

9/18/2014 - Compliance Dodd-Frank Enforcement Enforcement Actions FIRREA Popular SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers White Collar Crimes

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...more

7/25/2014 - Confidentiality Agreements Corporate Counsel Employment Contract Non-Disclosure Agreement Petitions for Review SEC Severance Agreements Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

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...more

6/27/2014 - Dodd-Frank Enforcement Actions Retaliation SEC

Nebraska District Court: Employee’s Disclosures To FINRA Make Her A Dodd-Frank Whistleblower

In a first-impression decision, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska recently ruled that an employee who disclosed information about potential securities law violations to FINRA may qualify as a...more

6/3/2014 - Adverse Employment Action Dodd-Frank FINRA Hiring & Firing Retaliation SEC Securities Whistleblowers

First-Ever SEC Bounty Winner Receives Additional Payout

The SEC Office of the Whistleblower recently announced that the first-ever whistleblower award under the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program will be increased by $150,000 based on additional assets the SEC collected from one the...more

4/9/2014 - Dodd-Frank SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

SEC Scrutinizing Contractual Impediments to Whistleblower Complaints

Sean McKessy (“McKessy”), the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) whistleblower chief, cautioned in-house attorneys who draft contracts incentivizing employees to report securities fraud complaints in-house rather...more

3/17/2014 - Corporate Counsel Retaliation SEC Securities Fraud Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

$6 Million SOX Whistleblower Verdict In California

On March 5, 2014, a California jury awarded $6 million to a former accounting executive at Playboy Enterprises Inc. (the “Company”), finding that the Company discharged the former employee in violation of Section 806 of SOX....more

3/11/2014 - Corporate Counsel Enforcement Actions Jury Verdicts Sarbanes-Oxley SEC

Story Behind $14M Whistleblower Bounty Award Begins To Surface

On November 19, 2013, we reported on a record-breaking $14 million whistleblower bounty payout by the SEC. Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal reported that this award arose from an alleged “Chicago-based scheme to defraud...more

2/28/2014 - SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

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