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Wisconsin District Court Follows 5th Circuit: Internal Tipsters Are Not Considered “Whistleblowers” Under Dodd-Frank

On August 12, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Lamb v. Rockwell Automation Inc., No. 15-CV-1415-JPS (E.D. Wis. Aug. 12, 2016) held that the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protection provision...more

SEC Bounty Hunters Take Heart: SEC Fines Company $265,000 for Using Severance Agreements That Provided a Waiver of any Monetary...

Wednesday, the SEC announced that an Atlanta-based company, BlueLinx Holdings, is settling charges that its severance agreements contained provisions that in its view might impede employees from communicating directly with...more

SEC Issues Cease-and-Desist Order Against Severance Agreement Clause Limiting Whistleblowers' Rights to Recover Bounty Awards

On August 10, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued a cease-and-desist Order and imposed remedial sanctions against a publicly traded company for including language in its severance agreements requiring...more

Case Note: Court Rules In Favor Of Fidelity And Holds That Float Income Is Not A Plan Asset

The First Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that float income is not a plan asset and therefore is not subject to fiduciary and prohibited transaction provisions of ERISA. The decision was written by former Justice Souter...more

Fidelity Prevails In ERISA Float Litigation

The First Circuit joined the Eighth Circuit in finding that Fidelity’s practice of earning overnight “float” interest on the cash paid out to 401(k) participants redeeming shares in mutual funds did not violate ERISA’s duty...more

Pension Fund Health-Check Required

The recent furore over the collapse of high street retailer BHS has caused fierce debate over whether companies, or their ultimate owners, are responsible for the upkeep of a pension plan. For private equity, the debate has...more

Quirky Question #285: Potholes on the Ethical “High Road”

Question: We learned that some of our employees may have been engaging in unethical, and perhaps even illegal, behavior. We don’t tolerate this, so we hired a law firm to conduct an investigation, and based on the results...more

Civil Fines Jump Across Agencies Under Inflation Adjustment Act

Civil fines across federal agencies have recently been increased dramatically under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (2015 Act) (Sec. 701 of Public Law 114-74), with some more than...more

Financial Services Quarterly Report - Second Quarter 2016: Does the Supreme Court’s Dudenhoeffer Decision under ERISA do “More...

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Amgen v. Harris, in which the Court revisited and clarified its 2014 holding in Dudenhoeffer v. Fifth Third Bancorp.2 Both cases concern the application of a...more

Employee Benefits Developments - June 2016

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued final regulations describing how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to employer wellness...more

S.D.N.Y. Dismisses SOX and Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claims For Lack Of Protected Activity

On June 22, 2016, Judge Daniels of the Southern District of New York dismissed SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims, ruling that Plaintiff’s alleged internal complaints did not constitute protected activity, as they did...more

Whistleblowers: No Reasonable Belief of Violation, No Protection

The SEC has been touting the large cash awards it has been handing out to whistleblowers. The agency views whistleblowers as a key source of potential information about wrong-doing which can give them tips and facilitate...more

Eighth Circuit Deals Significant Blow To SOX And Dodd-Frank Whistleblowers

On June 6, 2016, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the Minnesota District Court’s grant of summary judgment on SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claims based on the plaintiff’s failure to establish a reasonable belief...more

Eleventh Circuit Clarifies Broker-Dealer’s Liability For Employee’s Fraud

Will a broker-dealer be liable when a financial advisor employed by the firm solicits investments as part of a fraudulent scheme, where the firm specifically prohibited the advisor from soliciting the investment, the...more

Fifth Circuit Decision Includes Important Holdings for ESOP Fiduciaries

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed on May 3, 2016, the holdings of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on numerous issues involving the sale of closely held stock from a...more

A Compilation of Non-Enforcement Actions

Non-Enforcement - Amendments to the Venture Capital Fund Adviser and Private Fund Adviser Exemptions - Last month the SEC’s Division of Investment Management issued a guidance update (Update) addressing recent...more

Employee Benefits Developments - April 2016

Stock Drop Case Update: Settlement Reached in Dudenhoeffer Case; Dismissal of Lehman Brothers Lawsuit Upheld. Two recent developments in stock drop litigation are worth noting: Dudenhoeffer Settlement. In Fifth Third...more

Is Your Corporation “Zeroing Out” Income at End of Year Through Bonuses? Watch Out!

For the last few years the IRS has warned taxpayers that it would look closely at year-end bonuses that resulted in “zeroing out” taxable income of a corporation by deducting the bonuses as salary rather than a payment of...more

District Court Holds Private Equity Funds Jointly Liable for Portfolio Company's ERISA Withdrawal Liability

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled on March 28, 2016 that two private equity funds were jointly and severally liable for the multiemployer pension plan withdrawal liability of their jointly-owned...more

District Court Applies Dudenhoeffer “More Harm Than Good” Standard to Closely-Held Corporation

A federal district court in Mississippi ruled for the first time that the “more harm than good” pleading standard established by the Supreme Court in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, 134 S. Ct. 2459 (2014), applied to...more

CFTC Announces $10 Million Whistleblower Award, Its Largest Award Yet

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) recently announced the largest ever award under its Whistleblower Program created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The whistleblower...more

A Review of Recent Whistleblower Developments

SEC Awards Bounty to Whistleblower, But Offsets Award for a Judgment Against the Whistleblower - The extent to which the SEC would reward whistleblowers, who themselves engaged in wrongdoing, has been the subject of...more

Recent Lawsuit Demonstrates Continuing Need for Plan Fiduciaries to Document Decision-Making Process

Late last year, another lawsuit was brought on behalf of participants in a 401(k) plan alleging breaches of fiduciary duties resulting from allegedly high plan fees. This type of case is not novel; the law firm that brought...more

Private Equity Funds Liable for Withdrawal Liability of Portfolio Company

What you need to know: On March 28, 2016, the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts held, on remand from the First Circuit, that two related private equity funds were jointly and severally liable for...more

Statutory and Contractual Limitations Periods and the Events that Trigger Them: Insight from the Fourth Circuit

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) does not contain a statute of limitations provision, and courts generally apply the most analogous state law statutory limitation. However, some plans fill the void...more

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