In a landmark unanimous ruling late last week, Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC, et al. 601 U. S. ____ (2024), the U.S. Supreme Court held that whistleblowers do not need to prove their employer acted with “retaliatory intent” to be protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Instead, all whistleblower plaintiffs need to prove is that their protected activity was a “contributing factor” in the employer’s unfavorable personnel action. Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Endorses Low Burden of Proof for Whistleblowers

On June 21, 2022 the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Polansky v. Exec. Health Res., 17 F.4th 376 (3d Cir. 2021), allowing the Court to review the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) authority to dismiss qui tam suits brought under the False Claims Act (“FCA”), over objections by the relators. The case invites the high Court to decide two key issues: (1) whether the DOJ has the authority to dismiss qui tam suits where it declined to intervene, and (2) what standard of review applies to such requests for dismissal. Continue Reading Supreme Court To Review DOJ’s Authority to Dismiss Qui Tam FCA Suits Over Objections From Relators

By John Hynes

On November 2, 2012, the Sixth Circuit held that a 2009 amendment Congress made to the liability provisions of the False Claims Act ("FCA") applies retroactively to civil FCA cases pending as of June 7, 2008. U.S. ex rel. Sanders v. Allison Engine Co., Nos. 10-3818/10-3821, at *17-20 (6th Cir. Nov. 2, 2012).Continue Reading Sixth Circuit: FERA False Claims Act Amendment Applies Retroactively to Cases Pending as of June 7, 2008

By Anthony N. Moshirnia

Blowing the whistle on alleged fraud against the Government does not entitle an employee to loot and disclose her employer’s records in violation of a confidentiality agreement – at least not in the Ninth Circuit. In an opinion handed down in March of this year, the Ninth Circuit refused to adopt a so-called “public policy exception to confidentiality agreements to protect [qui tam plaintiffs]” who misappropriate documents from their employers ostensibly to buttress claims brought under the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”). U.S. ex rel. Cafasso v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1061-62 (9th Cir. 2011). Though this opinion has been on the books since Spring, it remains relevant, and worth keeping an eye on, as it provides powerful ammunition against FCA plaintiffs that continue to tout the “public policy” exception as though it were unassailable. Continue Reading In Ninth Circuit, Whistleblowers Not Exempt From Confidentiality Agreements

By Peter Menard

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Act”) became law on July 21, 2010. A primary purpose of the Act is to further incentivize whistleblowers

Continue Reading The Dodd Frank Act: A Guide to the Corporate Governance, Executive Compensation, and Disclosure Provisions

By Robert M. P. Hurwitz

The Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in a case testing the scope of the False Claims Act’s public disclosure bar. The False Claims Act (“FCA”) is the government’s primary weapon against waste, fraud, and abuse in government contracting.  Penalties for FCA violations are harsh: actual damages are trebled, and each false claim (such as an individual invoice) triggers a penalty of up to $11,000. Under the FCA’s qui tam provisions, whistleblowers (formally called relators) can bring lawsuits on behalf of the government. Whistleblowers receive a significant bounty for acting as private prosecutors: they are entitled to between 15 and 30 percent of the government’s proceeds from the litigation. This is a substantial sum, as the trebling and penalty provisions catapult many modest matters into multimillion dollar actions.
 Continue Reading The Supreme Court To Decide Whether FOIA Responses Trigger The False Claims Act’s Public Disclosure Bar

By David S. Gallacher

While Vice President Biden was busy touting Summer 2010 as the “Summer of Recovery” and the economic effects of the February 2009 Stimulus Act (a.k.a. the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Recovery Act, ARRA, the Stimulus Act, etc.), the gears of the regulatory process ground steadily onward. Throughout the summer, the White House Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) issued updated policy guidance implementing the ARRA requirements, and the rule-makers in the FAR Councils remained hard at work updating and (hopefully) finalizing the regulations implementing the finer details of the Recovery Act. Despite the fact that the ARRA funding officially expired on September 30, 2010 (meaning that any unobligated ARRA funds will now revert to the federal treasury to be saved or spent another day), the Government spent its summer fine-tuning the regulations. As the sun begins to set on the Recovery Act, and as the Summer of Recovery fades into the past, we summarize here some of the key features of the final Recovery Act rules promulgated over the last few months. 
 Continue Reading Bidding Adieu To The “Summer of Recovery”: Changes To ARRA Buy American And Reporting Requirements

By Bethany Hengsbach

Primarily as a result of the recent dramatic increase in the U.S. government’s enforcement effort, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) has received a great deal of attention of late. The financial reform legislation signed by President Obama on July 21, 2010 adds an incentive that will likely further increase the dangers posed to companies and individuals by the FCPA. The law contains a provision that will reward whistleblowers who voluntarily provide information leading to the successful enforcement of U.S. securities laws, including the FCPA, with between 10% and 30% of any recovery over $1,000,000. The whistleblower must provide “original” information, not already known to the SEC and not merely derived from existing investigations, audits, or reports. The SEC will have discretion to set the amount within the 10% – 30% range, based on the significance of the information to the success of the action, the whistleblower’s degree of assistance, and the interest of the SEC in using whistleblower payments to deter problematic conduct in the future. The provision also extends the reward to “related actions” taken by other prosecuting agencies based on the reported information, and thus will apply to actions initiated by the DOJ and other federal, state, and foreign law enforcement agencies. 
 Continue Reading Whistleblower Provision Likely To Increase FCPA Risk