W. Scott Sorrels

W. Scott Sorrels

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

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Georgia Supreme Court Applies the Business Judgment Rule to Bank Officers and Directors; Decision Has Implications for Corporate...

In a landmark ruling for officers and directors of Georgia’s financial institutions, the Supreme Court of Georgia held in FDIC v. Loudermilk, S14Q0454 (Ga. July 11, 2014), that officers and directors of banks are protected by...more

7/21/2014 - Banking Sector Banks Business Judgment Rule Corporate Officers Directors FDIC v Loudermilk Good Faith

Securities Class Action Defendants Can Rebut the Basic Fraud-on-the-Market Presumption of Reliance at the Class Certification...

The U.S. Supreme Court held yesterday that defendants in securities fraud class actions can defeat the Basic fraud-on-the-market presumption of reliance at the class certification stage “through evidence that the...more

6/24/2014 - Basic v Levinson Class Action Class Certification Fraud Fraud-on-the-Market Halliburton Halliburton v Erica P. John Fund Presumption of Reliance SCOTUS Securities Fraud

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

U.S. District Judge in Florida Dismisses SEC Action Against Corporate Defendants and Holds that Five-Year Statute of Limitations...

On May 12, Judge James Lawrence King of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed with prejudice the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) case against five defendants in an action...more

5/23/2014 - Dismissals SEC Section 2462 Securities Fraud Statute of Limitations Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Georgia District Court Judge Rules that FIRREA Precludes D&O Insurer Declaratory Judgment Actions Against FDIC as Receiver and...

On March 5, 2014, Judge Richard Story in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia issued an order denying Plaintiff OneBeacon Midwest Insurance Company’s (OneBeacon) Motion for Limited...more

4/3/2014 - Board of Directors D&O Insurance FDIC FIRREA Professional Liability

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

Are we headed toward “Basic writ small”?

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in the closely watched Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc., No. 13-317, which places in the Court’s crosshairs the continued viability of the fraud-on-the-market...more

3/7/2014 - Basic v Levinson Fraud-on-the-Market Halliburton Halliburton v Erica P. John Fund SCOTUS

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

M&A Brokers Exempt from SEC Broker-Dealer Registration Requirements

On January 31, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Trading and Markets issued a No-Action Letter (Letter)1 that allows a private business broker (M&A Broker) to receive transaction-based...more

2/10/2014 - Broker-Dealer No-Action Letters Registration SEC Securities Exchange Act

SEC’s Examination Program Issues a Risk Alert on Investment Adviser Due Diligence Processes

On January 28, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a Risk Alert entitled: Investment Adviser Due Diligence Processes for Selecting...more

2/3/2014 - Compliance Due Diligence Enforcement Investigations OCIE SEC

Eleventh Circuit Rejects Extension of the “No Duty” Rule and Allows D&Os to Pursue State-Law Defenses Based on FDIC Conduct

In a decision announced at the end of 2013 in the case of FDIC v. Steven Skow, et al., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rejected an argument proposed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) that...more

1/24/2014 - Affirmative Defenses Banks Directors Duty of Care FDIC Officers Professional Liability

Two Certified Issues to the Georgia Supreme Court Will Address Application of the Business Judgment Rule to Bank Officers and...

In an unexpected turn of events, two recent cases arising out of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia have resulted in two sets of certified questions to the Georgia Supreme Court that will likely have...more

1/16/2014 - Banks Board of Directors Business Judgment Rule Directors Officers

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

SEC Order Denying Whistleblower Claim Confirms Prospective Coverage and Limited Discovery in Dodd-Frank Bounty Proceedings

In a recent order denying a whistleblower’s award claim,1 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission upheld the prospective application and discovery limitations of two of its rules implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street...more

12/9/2013 - Discovery Dodd-Frank SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

High Court's Decision Next Term May Increase Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Litigation

This November, in Lawson v. FMR LLC, the United States Supreme Court will hear argument on whether “whistleblowers” employed by a privately held contractor or subcontractor of a publicly traded company are protected from...more

8/28/2013 - Contractors Lawson v FMR Mutual Funds Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley SCOTUS Subcontractors Whistleblowers

Fifth Circuit Creates Split on Scope of Retaliation Protection for "Whistleblowers" Under Dodd-Frank

Since the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, a number of federal courts have grappled with the scope of the Act’s new protections for employee “whistleblowers.” Until recently,...more

8/7/2013 - Conflicts of Laws Dodd-Frank Retaliation Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

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