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Court Slates June 16 Oral Argument In Siemens Whistle-Blower Retaliation Case

Friday, April 25, 2014

By Yin Wilczek  

April 22 --The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has scheduled a June 16 oral argument in a case involving a former Siemens AG employee who alleged he was unlawfully fired for reporting possible Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations at the company's China subsidiary.

The case is an appeal from an October 2013 ruling in which the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Siemens's dismissal motion against Liu Meng-Lin .

The district court, citing Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd., found no indication that Congress intended the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act's whistle-blower anti-retaliation measures to apply outside the U.S.

SEC Amicus Filing

Apart from the extraterritorial issue, the case could have other ramifications for the Securities and Exchange Commission's whistle-blower bounty program, which was mandated by Dodd-Frank. Earlier this year, the commission filed an amicus brief in Liu's appeal, arguing that under its rules, whistle-blowers are entitled to protection whether they report the wrongdoing to their employers or to the commission .

The filing was the first chance that the SEC has had to weigh in on the issue at the appellate level in the wake of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit's decision in Asadi v. G.E. Energy (USA) LLC . In the July 2013 ruling, the Fifth Circuit found that whistle-blowers are entitled to Dodd-Frank's anti-retaliation protections only if they reported a possible securities violation to the SEC.

Liu is represented by Kaiser Saurborn & Mair PC, New York. Siemens is represented by Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Washington. The SEC is represented by Assistant General Counsel Thomas J. Karr.

 

To contact the reporter on this story: Yin Wilczek in Washington at ywilczek@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Richard Cowden at rcowden@bna.com

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