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February 21, 2018 Practice Points

Supreme Court Limits Dodd-Frank Protection of Whistleblowers to Individuals Who First Report Violations of the Securities Laws to the SEC

The case is Digital Realty Trust Inc. v. Paul Somers.

By Joshua D. Jones

On February 21, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved a circuit split regarding whether the anti-retaliation provision for “whistleblowers” in the Dodd-Frank Act extended to persons who had not reported the alleged wrongdoing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Court held that such persons fell outside of the definition of whistleblowers set forth in the act—namely, those providing information "relating to a violation of the securities laws to the commission." Accordingly, one must first report a violation to the SEC in order to sue under Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation provision. 

The case is Digital Realty Trust Inc. v. Paul Somers; Docket No. 16-1276, slip op, 583 U. S. (2018).

Joshua D. Jones is with Bressler, Amery & Ross PC in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Joshua D. Jones – February 21, 2018