September 24, 2022

Volume XII, Number 267

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September 23, 2022

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September 22, 2022

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D.C. Circuit: No Award to Whistleblower Who Made Disclosure Before Enactment of SEC’s Whistleblower Program

On May 27, 2022, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an order by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) denying a whistleblower award under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”), holding that information provided to the SEC prior to Dodd-Frank’s enactment did not qualify for a whistleblower award under the statute.  Ross v. SEC, No. 21-1165 (D.C. Cir. 2022).

Background

Plaintiff-appellant Ross appealed the SEC’s denial of his application for a whistleblower award.  Between 2005 and 2008, Ross provided information to the SEC about securities violations that ultimately resulted in a successful SEC enforcement action in which defendants were ordered to pay approximately $100 million.

Among other financial reforms, Dodd-Frank authorized the SEC to give monetary awards to “whistleblowers who voluntarily provided original information to the Commission” when that information led to a successful enforcement resulting in sanctions of over $1 million.  The regulations implementing Dodd-Frank define “original information” in the whistleblower context as, among other requirements, information provided to the SEC “for the first time after July 21, 2010,” Dodd-Frank’s date of enactment.

Ruling

The D.C. Circuit affirmed the SEC’s denial, holding that the information Ross provided did not meet the Dodd-Frank definition of “original information” because it was first provided to the SEC prior to July 21, 2010.

Implications

This ruling confirms that the requirements in Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower award provisions will be strictly construed.

© 2022 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 165
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About this Author

Lloyd B Chinn, Financial, Whistleblower Attorney, Proskauer Law Firm
Partner

Lloyd B. Chinn is a Partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group. He litigates employment disputes of all types before federal and state courts, arbitration tribunals (e.g., FINRA, JAMS and AAA), and before administrative agencies in New York and across the country. Lloyd's practice ranges from litigating compensation disputes to defending whistleblower, discrimination and sexual harassment claims. Although he represents employers in a wide range of industries, including law, insurance, health care, consulting, media,...

212-969-3341
Pinny Goldberg Labor and Employment Lawyer Proskauer Rose Law Firm
Associate

Pinny Goldberg is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. Pinny represents employers in a broad array of matters before federal and state courts, FINRA and other arbitration panels, and administrative agencies, including the EEOC and its state equivalents, and in pre-litigation negotiations. Matters he works on include discrimination and harassment, wage and hour, wrongful discharge, whistleblowing and retaliation, covenants not to compete, breaches of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, and tort and contract claims. 

In...

212.969.3074
Law Clerk

Dixie Morrison is a law clerk in the Labor Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Group.

310-557-5616
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