Harris M. Mufson

Harris M. Mufson

Proskauer Rose LLP

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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

SEC’s Strategic Plan Includes Reliance On Whistleblower Tips

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published (for public comment) a draft strategic plan, which sets forth its goals and objectives for fiscal years 2014 through 2018. The SEC’s “strategic objectives” include:...more

2/11/2014 - Dodd-Frank Retaliation SEC Whistleblowers

Virginia District Court Opens Door To Front Pay For SOX Whistleblowers

In a SOX whistleblower case of first impression, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that front pay may be ordered in lieu of reinstatement. However, the court ultimately determined that front...more

12/3/2013 - Front Pay Reinstatement Sarbanes-Oxley SEC Whistleblowers

Record-breaking $14m Payout Highlight of SEC’s Annual Report

On November 15, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of the Whistleblower (OWB) released its third Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program to Congress, which details information on OWB’s...more

11/20/2013 - SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

SEC Announces Additional Whistleblower Award Based on Assets Seized by Justice Department

After awarding the second-ever whistleblower bounty award pursuant to Section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) in connection with SEC v. Andrey C. Hicks and Locust Offshore...more

9/11/2013 - Dodd-Frank DOJ Enforcement Actions Search & Seizure SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

New York Times Quotes Lloyd Chinn on “Sharper Focus” of Internal Whistleblower Compliance Policies

In an article published by the New York Times yesterday, Lloyd Chinn, Co-head of Proskauer’s Whistleblower & Retaliation Group, commented on the recent efforts of some companies to strengthen their whistleblower compliance...more

4/25/2013 - Compliance SEC Whistleblowers

District of Colorado Expansively Construes Protected Activity Under Dodd-Frank, But Finds No Causation

The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado followed a trend of decisions concluding that a plaintiff need not have provided the SEC with information regarding alleged federal securities law violations to pursue a...more

4/5/2013 - Dodd-Frank Hiring & Firing Protected Activity Retaliation SEC Termination Whistleblowers

Third Circuit Lowers Bar For Determining Whether Internal Complaint Is SOX Protected Activity

In Wiest v. Lynch, No. 11-cv-4257, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 5345 (3d Cir. March 19, 2013), the Third Circuit gave Chevron deference to U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Review Board’s (ARB) interpretation of “protected...more

3/26/2013 - DOL Protected Activity Sarbanes-Oxley SEC Split of Authority Whistleblowers

District Court Widens Split On Whether Complaints Of Alleged Future Misconduct Are Protected

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled that a SOX whistleblower complaint survived a Rule 12(b)(6) challenge on “reasonable belief” grounds and found that complaints of potential future...more

2/18/2013 - Board of Directors Corporate Bonuses Federal Rule 12(b)(6) Fraud Internal Controls Playboy Potential Future Violations Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley SEC Split of Authority Termination Whistleblowers

A Clear Illustration of How HR & Employment Law Best Practices Intersect With Compliance

On November 14, 2012, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) jointly issued a guide to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) titled: A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt...more

11/29/2012 - Compliance DOJ FCPA FCPA Resource Guide SEC Whistleblowers

FINRA Rule Amended: Whistleblower Claims Not Subject To Mandatory Arbitration

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd Frank) amended the whistleblower provision in Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) to state that pre-dispute arbitration agreements that...more

11/26/2012 - Arbitration Agreements FINRA Sarbanes-Oxley SEC Whistleblowers

The Fight Isn’t Over: Employers Should Keep Battling The Definition of “Whistleblower” Under Dodd-Frank

The “Securities Whistleblower Incentives and Protection” section of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“DFA”) is an integrated scheme designed to encourage individuals to complain to the...more

11/19/2012 - Dodd-Frank Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley SEC Securities Whistleblowers

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