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The compliance side of the circuit split on whistleblower protections

Jaclyn Jaeger | April 4, 2017

A recent federal appeals court ruling further splits the circuit courts on the scope of whistleblower protections under the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation provision, but any outcome is trivial to prudent compliance and legal teams.

In the case, Somers v. Digital Realty Trust, a divided panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision ruled in early March that anti-retaliation protections under the Dodd-Frank Act apply to whistleblowers even if they don’t file a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“By broadening the definition of who qualifies as a whistleblower, the Somers decision may be an important catalyst for white-collar enforcement in the Ninth Circuit and elsewhere,” says Joseph Fazioli, a partner at law firm Dechert and former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. “Somers reflects the...

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