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

5th Circuit: Outing Whistleblower Equals Adverse Action

On November 12, 2014, in Halliburton, Inc. v. Admin. Review Bd., 5th Cir. No. 13-cv-60323, the Fifth Circuit affirmed an ARB’s decision that disclosing the identity of a whistleblower may constitute an “adverse action” under...more

11/18/2014 - Administrative Review Board Adverse Employment Action Corporate Counsel Employer Liability Issues Halliburton Litigation Hold Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

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

Third Circuit Sizes Up Dodd-Frank’s Anti-Arbitration Provision

On October 24, 2014, in Khazin v. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp, et al., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit heard oral argument on an issue of first impression (within that forum): whether Dodd-Frank applies...more

11/3/2014 - Appeals Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Commodities Exchange Act Dodd-Frank Oral Argument Retroactive Application Sarbanes-Oxley TD Ameritrade Whistleblowers

Administrative Review Board Clarifies Causation Burdens in SOX Whistleblower Cases

The ARB recently clarified the competing burdens of proof on issues of causation for whistleblower retaliation cases arising under SOX Section 806 and other whistleblower protection statutes. In particular, in Fordham v....more

10/31/2014 - Burden of Proof Causation Sarbanes-Oxley 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

SDNY Dismisses Extraterritorial SOX and Dodd Frank Whistleblower Claims

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 September 30, 2014, the Southern District of New York in Ulrich v....more

10/17/2014 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Dismissals Dodd-Frank Extraterritoriality Rules Moody's Sarbanes-Oxley 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

Second Circuit Strays From “Definitively and Specifically” Standard But Still Dismisses SOX Claim

On August 8, 2014, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a SOX whistleblower retaliation claim brought by a former AECOM Technology Corp. (“Company”) employee, holding that he did not engage in protected activity...more

8/14/2014 - Corporate Counsel Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

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

Texas Federal Court Dismisses FCA Claims As Insufficiently Pled

In U.S. ex rel. Williams v. McKesson Corp., No. 3:12-CV-0371-B (N.D. Tex. July 9, 2014), a Texas federal court recently dismissed a qui tam whistleblower suit by a former employee of McKesson, a Texas-based entity that...more

7/21/2014 - False Claims Act Fraud Healthcare Healthcare Fraud McKesson Technologies Pleading Standards Qui Tam Whistleblowers

Eleventh Circuit Sustains Award To Employer In Whistleblower Case

In a warning to plaintiffs’ counsel who seek emotional distress damages for alleged whistleblower retaliation under Florida law, the Eleventh Circuit in Smith v. Psychiatric Solutions, Inc., 750 F.3d 1253 (11th Cir. May 6,...more

7/11/2014 - Attorney's Fees Emotional Distress Damages Employer Liability Issues Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

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

S.D.N.Y. Takes Broad Approach To SOX and Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claims

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently denied a motion to dismiss a plaintiff’s SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims, ruling that (i) the plaintiff engaged in SOX protected activity even...more

5/28/2014 - Dodd-Frank Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

New York Court of Appeals Expands Potential For State Whistleblower Claims

The New York Court of Appeals recently ruled that a whistleblower need not plead the specific “law, rule or regulation” that the employer purportedly violated to state a cause of action under the New York whistleblower...more

5/20/2014 - Appeals Employer Liability Issues Pleading Standards Whistleblowers

4th Circuit: SOX Whistleblower Failed To Establish A Prima Facie Case Regarding Causation

On May 12, 2014, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment on a SOX whistleblower claim, concluding that the whistleblowers’ alleged protected activity was not a “contributing factor” in the challenged...more

5/16/2014 - Adverse Employment Action Causation Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Asks Congress to Increase OSH Act Whistleblower Statute of...

On April 29, 2014, David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, testified before the U.S. Senate subcommittee of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions regarding...more

5/7/2014 - OSHA Statute of Limitations 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

N.J. Court Sends Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim To Arbitration

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey recently held that the Dodd-Frank Act does not operate retroactively to bar pre-dispute arbitration agreements, and thus required a plaintiff to arbitrate his Dodd-Frank...more

3/21/2014 - Arbitration Dodd-Frank Whistleblowers

Illinois Whistleblower Awarded $3 Million Following Jury Trial

In what appears to be an alarming trend for employers, the Chicago Tribune recently reported that a former Chicago State University employee was awarded $3 million after a Cook County, Illinois jury found that the University...more

3/18/2014 - Corporate Counsel Jury Trial Jury Verdicts Retaliation Whistleblower Awards 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

U.S. Supreme Court Extends SOX's Whistleblower Protection To Employees of Publicly Traded Company's Contractors

On March 4, 2014, the United States Supreme Court decided Lawson v. FMR LLC, holding that SOX's whistleblower protection extends to employees of a publicly traded company's contractors and subcontractors. Lawson v. FMR LLC,...more

3/7/2014 - Contractors Fidelity Investments FMR LLC Lawson v FMR Sarbanes-Oxley SCOTUS Subcontractors Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

U.S. Supreme Court Extends SOX’s Whistleblower Protection To Employees of Publicly Traded Company’s Contractors

On March 4, 2014, the United States Supreme Court in Lawson v. FMR LLC held that SOX’s whistleblower protection extends to employees of a publicly traded company’s contractors and subcontractors. Lawson v. FMR LLC, 572 U.S....more

3/5/2014 - Contractors Employee Definition Fidelity Investments FMR LLC Lawson v FMR Sarbanes-Oxley SCOTUS Securities Exchange Act Subcontractors Whistleblowers

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