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Tag Archives: supreme court

Wall Street’s War on Corporate Whistleblowers Reaches Supreme Court

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Legislation, News
U.S. Supreme CourtThe fate of corporate whistleblowers and compliance programs is on the line as the U.S. Supreme Court reviews the case of Digital Realty Trust V. Somers. At issue in this case is whether whistleblowers who report potential violations within their organizations, as opposed to reporting directly to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), are protected under the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA).… Continue Reading

UPDATE: Today U.S. Supreme Court Heard Oral Argument in State Farm Ex Rel. Rigsby

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. U.S. ex rel. Rigsby. Having suffered a 758-thousand-dollar jury verdict for defrauding the Government following Hurricane Katrina, State Farm is now attempting judicial gymnastics to avoid paying the judgment.  State Farm is asking the Supreme Court to automatically dismiss False Claims Act cases… Continue Reading

NWC Files Amicus in State Farm Ex Rel. Rigsby

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam
Today, the National Whistleblower Center filed an Amicus (friend of the court) brief in State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. U.S. ex rel. Rigsby. Having suffered a 758-thousand-dollar jury verdict for defrauding the Government following Hurricane Katrina, State Farm is now attempting judicial gymnastics to avoid paying the judgment. The question in this case is whether the harshest sanction… Continue Reading

Justice Department’s First Public Statement on Supreme Court’s Unanimous Escobar Decision Slams Toyobo’s “Half-Truths” in Pending False Claims Act Whistleblower Suit

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam
Department of JusticeWashington, D.C. June 22, 2016 – Today, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a Notice of Supplemental Authority in a pending False Claims Act case, U.S. ex rel. Westrick v. Second Chance Body Armor, et al., No. 04-0280 (D.D.C.), setting forth the DOJ’s official position on the impact of the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision announced last week in Universal Health… Continue Reading

Big Win for Whistleblowers at Supreme Court

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam, News
Supreme Court Unanimously Supports Whistleblower under False Claims Act Washington, D.C. June 16, 2016. In a unanimous ruling issued today, the United States Supreme Court upheld a whistleblower’s claim in Universal Health Services v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar.  The Court, in an opinion by Justice Thomas, affirmed the “implied certification theory” of liability under the False Claims Act (FCA).  This theory permits contractors to… Continue Reading

Government Contractors Ask Supreme Court for False Claims Act Loophole So They Can “Pick and Choose” What Regulations to Follow

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam, News
On April 19th I visited the Supreme Court to listen to oral arguments in Universal Health Services v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar, arising under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act.  However, I was shocked at what I heard. The hospital that was sued in this case actually asked the Justices to believe that: (1) it is not fraud… Continue Reading

National Whistleblower Center presents original documents showing the intent of the False Claims Act

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, False Claims / Qui Tam
The National Whistleblower Center recently filed an Amicus (friend of the court) brief in the case Universal Health Services v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar. The legal issue behind the case concerns the False Claims Act, America’s premier whistleblower law and its best defense against government contracting fraud. The question at hand asks whether a contractor can only be held liable… Continue Reading

TSA Whistleblower Wins At Supreme Court

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, National Security
Washington, D.C.  January 21, 2015.  Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that former Air Marshall Robert MacLean was not “specifically prohibited by law” from disclosing information to the press about TSA’s plan to cutback on the number of air marshals during a terrorist alert.  Such a disclosure was against agency regulations. The Whistleblower Protection Act prohibits individuals in positions of… Continue Reading

Oral Arguments in Key Supreme Court Whistleblower Case Scheduled for Tuesday

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam, News
The Supreme Court will hold oral arguments on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 in an important case brought under the False Claims Act. In October, the National Whistleblower Center filed an amicus brief in Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Carter supporting the whistleblower. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) has used this case to continue… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in TSA Whistleblower Case

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, National Security
Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean.  This case arises under the Whistleblower Protection Act. The Whistleblower Protection Act prohibits individuals in positions of authority from taking a “personnel action” against a government employee when the employee makes a disclosure, which the employee reasonable believes to evidence a “substantial and specific danger to… Continue Reading

Big Win for Corporate Whistleblowers at Supreme Court

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers
SOX whistleblower protection covers mutual fund industry Washington, D.C. March 4, 2014. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in Lawson v. FMR, LLC, that contractors and subcontractors of publicly traded companies are fully protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for corporate whistleblowers. Significantly, in today’s decision the Supreme Court explicitly held that investment advisors and other “independent contractors” employed in the mutual… Continue Reading

Supreme Court seeks government’s view in Lawson

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order inviting the Solicitor General of the United States to file a brief "expressing the views of the United States" in Lawson v. FMR.  This is a good sign that the Supreme Court is interested in the case, and could accept the case if the Solicitor General explains that Supreme Court review… Continue Reading

NWC amicus urges Supreme Court to reverse in Lawson

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers
Today, Stephen M. Kohn and I are filing a "friend of the court" brief urging the United States Supreme Court to accept review of, and reverse, the First Circuit’s decision in Lawson v. FMR. I wrote here previously about the two-judge majority in the First Circuit had terribly misconstrued the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) to deny protection to the employees of… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Guts Privacy Act

Posted in Government Whistleblowers
Whistleblowers beware: this week the Supreme Court dealt a death blow to the Privacy Act. David Colapinto, NWC General Counsel and Privacy Act expert, appeared on NPR to talk about the ruling and it’s devastating effects for whistleblowers. Full story here Congress originally passed the historic Privacy Act after the Nixon administration illegally broke into Daniel Ellsburg’s psychiatric records. The… Continue Reading

NWC Urges Supreme Court Not to Weaken the Privacy Act

Posted in News
Privacy Act Protections for Whistleblowers At Risk On Tuesday, October 4, 2011, the National Whistleblower Center filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the plaintiff in a Privacy Act case, Federal Aviation Administration v. Cooper, No. 10-1024. The Supreme Court is currently reviewing whether the Privacy Act permits the recovery of damages… Continue Reading

Dr. Duane Bonds files petition with Supreme Court to expand protections for federal employees

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, Healthcare, National Security
Dr. Duane Bonds has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court this week. Dr. Bonds was our nation’s top researcher on sickle cell disease until she blew the whistle on the unauthorized cloning of participants’ cells. In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that she had a right to a jury trial on her… Continue Reading

Supreme Court considers whistleblower protection for “ministerial employees”

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to review a Michigan decision that allows a church to fire a middle school math teacher after she reported suspected sexual abuse to government authorities. According to the Court’s docket, this case has been distributed for consideration at all three Friday conferences this month. The Court’s web page says that decisions are normally… Continue Reading

Supreme Court says internal oral complaints are “filed”

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers
Today the Supreme Court held that workers who make oral complaints about wage and hour violations are protected from retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Court says that oral complaints are "filed" and that workers who make them have "filed any complaint" in the parlance of the 1938 statute. The decision reverses a narrow holding by the… Continue Reading

Staub wins at Supreme Court: employers are liable for supervisor’s animus

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers
In a major victory for employees with any kind of discrimination or retaliation claim, the Supreme Court yesterday held that employers are liable when a supervisor is motivated by an illegal motive, then acts within the scope of authority on behalf of the employer, and succeeds in getting someone fired. It no longer matters if the employer has the termination… Continue Reading

Supreme Court protects whistleblower’s family from retaliation

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Whistleblower FAQ
Today the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision that prohibits employers from retaliating against a whistleblower’s family members or other associates. The decision in Thompson v. North American Stainless LP is unanimous, and reverses an en banc decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio. The decision makes clear that victims of retaliation do not have to… Continue Reading

The Petition Clause can avoid the “public concern” requirement

Posted in Government Whistleblowers
In Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138 (1983), the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause would protect public employees from retaliation only if the employee’s speech touched on a matter of "public concern." That is, government officials were free to retaliate against employees for raising matters of private concern, but not for matters of public concern.… Continue Reading

Supreme Court allows government to read employee text messages

Posted in Government Whistleblowers
The United States Supreme Court has today reversed a decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that had protected a public employee’s expectation of privacy in pager text messages. The case is City of Ontario, California v. Quon, No. 08-1332. The bottom line for whistleblowers is that they should not conduct whistleblowing or other personal business on computers, phones… Continue Reading

Supreme Court, Special Education Teachers, and Dirty Words

Posted in Government Whistleblowers
I had the privilege of attending a session of the U.S. Supreme Court two days ago.  I was there to move the admission of Chicago area employment rights attorney Joette Doran.  While waiting for the justices to enter, I visited with attorneys who represent parents of special needs children.  They were attending to hear the Court’s argument in Forest Grove… Continue Reading