September 18, 2018

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Ninth Circuit Widens Circuit Split on Whether Dodd-Frank Protects Internal Whistleblowing

On March 8, 2017, in Somers v. Digital Realty Trust Inc., No.15-cv-17352 (9th Cir., March 8, 2017), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to dismiss a whistleblower claim brought under the Dodd-Frank Act’s (“DFA”)’s anti-retaliation provision.

In a 2-1 decision, the majority endorsed the approach of the Second Circuit, and not that of the Fifth Circuit, in holding that Congress did not intend to limit DFA whistleblower protections to only those who disclose information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Rather, the court held that the DFA anti-retaliation provision also protects those who are fired after making internal disclosures of allegedly unlawful activity under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) and other securities laws, rules, and regulations.

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Todd Wozniak, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Atlanta, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
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Todd D. Wozniak is Co-Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s ERISA & Employee Benefits Litigation group. He is a trial lawyer who defends companies and public institutions throughout the United States in labor and employment, ERISA, and business disputes. He is also experienced in wage and hour litigation, state and federal whistleblower statutes, non-discrimination laws, plant closing and mass layoff laws, collective bargaining and traditional labor relations, executive contracts and compensation, non-compete and trade secrets litigation, and...

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Jack Gearan, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Boston, Education, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
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Jack S. Gearan is a lawyer in the Boston office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP. He concentrates his practice in the areas of business litigation and employment law. Jack has experience in all phases of civil litigation including discovery, mediation, arbitration and trial.

Jack’s business litigation practice covers a variety of business torts, including misrepresentation, fraud, contract disputes, and claims under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A – the Massachusetts unfair trade practices statute.

Jack also regularly represents employers in all areas of employment law, including litigation of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and non-compete cases, as well as numerous other personnel and workplace issues. Jack frequently represents employers in wage and hour class actions brought under the Massachusetts Wage Act, and nationwide collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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