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Supreme Court Issues Important Ruling in SEC Whistleblower Case

On February 21st, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling in the case of Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers. In a unanimous decision, the nation’s highest court held that whistleblowers must report allegations of misconduct to the SEC in order to qualify for legal protections under Dodd-Frank. 

This is an extremely important decision; it clarifies the legal procedure that securities industry whistleblowers are required to follow in order to protect their legal rights and financial interests. In this post, our experienced Miami SEC whistleblower attorneys highlight the most important things that you need to know about this case.

Case Review: Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers 

Facts and Background 

Paul Somers was employed in the position of ‘Vice President’ at Digital Realty Trust, Inc. from 2010 until 2014. Towards the end of his time working at the company, Mr. Somers contends that he reported multiple suspected securities law violations to senior management. Soon after he made these disclosures, Mr. Somers was terminated from his position.

Mr. Somers responded by bringing a lawsuit against the company. In this lawsuit, he argued that his termination was a violation of the whistleblower retaliation protections that are included within Dodd-Frank. His employer disagreed. In its response to the lawsuit, Digital Realty Trust, Inc. countered that Mr. Somers did not actually qualify for Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections. The company argued that employees are required to make disclosures to the SEC in order to obtain such protections.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed the employer’s argument, granting Mr. Somers whistleblower protection. However, in a similar case, the U.S. Court Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued the opposite decision. As a result of this circuit split, this case went to Supreme Court for resolutions. 

Disclosures Must Be Made to the SEC 

The Supreme Court has now overturned the Ninth Circuit. In order to qualify for whistleblower protections under Dodd-Frank, disclosures must be made to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

If you are a securities industry insider, and you are considering reporting securities law violations, it is imperative that you follow the proper protocols. If you only make your concerns known internally, you will not be entitled to whistleblower protections under Dodd-Frank. You could be subject to retaliation.

The SEC Whistleblower Program offers financial awards to securities industry insiders who provide information that helps put a stop to financial fraud and recovers ill-gotten money. Our experienced Miami SEC whistleblower lawyers can help you submit disclosures confidentially, so that you can maintain your privacy and obtain much needed whistleblower protections.  

Contact Our Florida SEC Whistleblower Attorneys Today 

At Carlson & Associates, P.A, our South Florida SEC whistleblower lawyers have the skills and experience needed to protect your legal rights. If you are considering making a disclosure to the SEC, we can help you remain confidential and obtain whistleblower protections under Dodd-Frank. To set up a review of your case, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Miami office today at  1-(305)-372-9700.

Resource:

supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1276_b0nd.pdf

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