Whistleblower Retaliation Case Before Supreme Court
What is the Scope of Protection Against Retaliation?
At the end of November, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Digital Realty vs. Somers, a whistleblower case involving securities fraud. The case demonstrates the complexity of whistleblower cases and questions that may arise as to whistleblower remedies against employer retaliation for reporting wrongdoing. We recommend you always consult with counsel before coming forward to your employer or any government agency with your information of wrongdoing. If you live in San Francisco County or any California county and have information that may qualify as a qui tam/whistleblower case, call Evans Law Firm, Inc. today at 415-441-8669.
In Digital Realty, a former company executive allegedly told Digital Realty senior executives in San Francisco of a possible $7-million cost overrun on a project in Hong Kong. He was dismissed some weeks after his report. He did not contact the SEC before his firing, or file a complaint afterward with the U.S. Department of Labor within 180 days, as permitted under a labor law. The whistleblower claimed he was protected from employer retaliation under the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in the wake of the Wall Street collapse of 2008. The Act sought to encourage auditors, lawyers and other employees to sound an alarm if they spotted serious wrongdoing. Employers were told they could not “discharge, demote, suspend, threaten [or] harass” anyone for “making disclosures” of potential violations. Employees who were fired could sue and win double back pay if they showed they were victims of retaliation. But the law also defined a whistleblower as someone who provides information “to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).”
Digital Realty argued that since the whistleblower had only reported the wrongdoing internally he was not protected by Dodd Frank. A federal court in San Francisco and the Ninth Circuit held that the whistleblower was protected under the statute and the company appealed to the Supreme Court. (The Evans Law Firm is not involved in this case in any way but our whistleblower attorneys are following it closely.) The Supreme Court’s decision will likely come down in the months ahead. The take away from the case is that whistleblowers should seek counsel before reporting suspected wrongdoing to anyone – their superiors or government agencies. Evans Law Firm represents whistleblowers in many different types of whistleblower/qui tam litigations, including securities fraud, false claims, and offshore tax avoidance schemes. Our attorneys can advise on reporting issues and guide your case through reporting, investigation and discovery, and represent you at trial.
If you or someone you love has information regarding a whistleblower/qui tam case in San Francisco County or any California county involving the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, False Claims Act cases, the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Office, or the FINRA Whistleblower Office or other illegal activity, contact California whistleblower attorney Ingrid Evans and the other Evans Law Firm whistleblower attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a FINRA Arbitration, jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We also handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.