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Supreme Court Expands Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection to Employees of Private Companies

In 2002, after corporate fraud at Enron led to the company's collapse, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). Under SOX's main whistleblower protection provision, an employee of a publicly traded company who claims...more

Muddy employee incentive issues in a disappointing exit: 9 practical tips for public company acquirers

In mediocre payout situations, transaction proceeds are unlikely to give a substantial (if any) return to common stockholders, yet may be sufficient to at least return the initial investment, and perhaps a liquidation...more

Massachusetts SJC Rules on Fiduciary Duties Owed to and By Shareholder-Employee in Closely Held Corporation

A recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), Selmark Associates v. Ehrlich, illustrates the complex web of fiduciary obligations owed to and by shareholder-employees in a closely held corporation under...more

Lawson and Doral Expand Whistleblower Protections

Two recent decisions interpreting the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have significantly expanded the protections available for federal whistleblowers and increase the potential liability for public companies and private companies that...more

U.S. Supreme Court Expands Scope of Whistleblower Protections

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that whistleblower protections of Sarbanes-Oxley extend not only to employees of public companies, but to the employees of their contractors and subcontractors. See Lawson...more

IRS Issues Final Regulations on Substantial Risks of Forfeiture under Code Section 83

On February 25, 2014, the Treasury Department issued final regulations identifying the circumstances in which a substantial risk of forfeiture would exist under Section 83 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”)....more

Proxy Season Litigation Primer: Defending Shareholder Suits to Enjoin Annual Meetings for Allegedly Inadequate Disclosures...

Over the past few years, as plaintiffs have found it increasingly harder to succeed in “say-on-pay” litigation, another type of litigation over proxy disclosures has been on the rise. These cases are generally brought as...more

"Inside the Courts: Supreme Court Agrees to Review American Pipe Tolling Issue"

This morning, the Supreme Court granted the writ of certiorari in Public Employees Retirement System of Mississippi v. IndyMacMBS, Inc. The petition raises an issue regarding the application of American Pipe tolling to claims...more

Retaliation Exposure Tipping Point? Supreme Court Extends SOX Whistleblower Protections to Private Company Employees

The Supreme Court in Lawson vs FMR, LLC (delivered March 4, 2014 after a 6-3 vote) has ruled that employees of private companies engaged by public companies are covered by the whistleblower protections of Sarbanes Oxley Act...more

This Week In Securities Litigation (Week ending March 7, 2014)

The Supreme Court was the focus of securities litigation this week. Oral argument was presented in the long running Halliburton case where the Petitioners are seeking to rewrite the rules for bringing securities fraud class...more

Supreme Court Expands Scope of Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Liability

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in Lawson v. FMR LLC, No. 12-3, holding that the whistleblower protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 protect not only the employees of regulated...more

Fiduciary Breach Claims Barred by ERISA’s Six-Year Statute of Limitations

The Eleventh Circuit recently dismissed a participant’s fiduciary breach claims against SunTrust’s 401(k) plan fiduciary committee members on the ground that the claims for imprudently selecting certain investment options was...more

IRS Issues Final Regulations under Internal Revenue Code Section 83 Regarding Substantial Risk of Forfeiture Analysis

Companies that compensate their employees with annual or long-term awards of restricted property such as restricted stock grants should take note of the final regulations relating to property transferred in connection with...more

U.S. Supreme Court to Review “Presumption of Prudence” that Favors Fiduciaries of ERISA Plans that Hold Employer Stock

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, in which the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in response to a motion to dismiss, declined to adopt a presumption of prudence in favor of a...more

Oops! CalPERS Reportedly Violates Insider Trading Policy Again

Jon Ortiz, who writes The State Worker blog for The Sacramento Bee, recently reported that the California Public Employees Retirement System has again violated its insider trading policy by purchasing shares in an initial...more

Striking Out A-Rod: The Faithless Servant Doctrine

The Alex Rodriguez (“A-Rod”) saga is playing out like a classic Greek tragedy. With hubris-laced legal soliloquies and a sports media dutifully taking on its role as the Chorus, all that appears to be missing is the blind...more

SEC and DOL Reach $21 Million Settlement with Adviser Over Alleged Failure to Disclose and Correct Trading Errors and Improper...

The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and Department of Labor (“DOL”) reached settlements with Western Asset Management (the “Adviser”), a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of Legg Mason Inc., under...more

SEC Sanctions Adviser for Failing to Inform ERISA Clients of Improper Investment Allocation

The Securities and Exchange Commission sanctioned an investment adviser for allowing some of its ERISA plan clients to invest in private placements, even though the issuer specifically restricted investments by ERISA plans. ...more

Former BGC Senior Executive Banned by FCA Due to Concerns Over His Fitness and Propriety

On January 29, the FCA published a final notice regarding Anthony Verrier, a former inter-dealer broker at BGC Brokers LP. The FCA has adjudged Mr. Verrier not to be a fit and proper person due to concerns it had over...more

For Whom The Whistle Tolls In 2014

Momentum for the SEC’s Dodd Frank whistleblower program is growing, and 2014 can be expected to bring continued expansion of the program and the number and types of whistleblower actions initiated by the SEC. The SEC’s...more

SEC Charges Investment Adviser With Improper Conduct in Two Proceedings

The Commission filed two settled administrative proceedings involving Western Asset Management Co., a subsidiary of Legg Mason, Inc. One centered on the failure of the firm to promptly disclose to clients that a coding error...more

2014 Trends: #4 Insider Trading and the Return of Organizational Culpability

Our coverage of the Top 10 Ethics and Compliance Trends to Watch in 2014 continues today as we tackle the issue of insider trading and its relationship with ethics and compliance. ...more

Supreme Court to Decide Applicability of the “Prudence Presumption” in ERISA Stock Cases: ESOP and 401(k) Plan Sponsors and...

Introduction - In Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether investments in employer stock are entitled to a “prudence presumption” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act...more

Supreme Court Picks Up ERISA Stock-Drop Case: What’s Next?

In what circumstances should you be permitted to invest your retirement savings in your own employer’s stock? We have blogged before about an ERISA class action pending at the Supreme Court regarding when plan fiduciaries...more

Solicitor General Urges Supreme Court to Address Plan Investment in Company Stock

The U.S. government, through a brief submitted by the Solicitor General, is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to consider clarifying when a plaintiff may state a claim against plan fiduciaries for the continued holding of...more

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