The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments recently in a landmark case involving corporate whistleblowers, according to AdvisorHub.
The high court took up the appeal filed by Trevor Murray, a former strategist for UBS Group AG. Murray, who worked for UBS’s commercial mortgage-backed securities business, was awarded over $900,000 by a jury in 2017 after claiming he was fired illegally as retaliation by the firm after he refused to embellish his reports for clients and complained about being pressured to do so.
Murray asserted that UBS had violated the protections for whistleblowers that are set forth in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. But last year the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the jury verdict, saying it was not valid because the trial judge did not inform jurors that a whistleblower must prove that their employer intentionally retaliated against them, as the act states.
UBS had argued that Murray was not fired as retaliation, but instead was terminated as part of company-wide layoffs amid a period of financial losses for the firm.
The Supreme Court granted Murray’s bid to review the appeals court decision, and is now considering whether to reinstate the jury’s verdict in his favor. The court will decide whether whistleblowers such as Murray must prove they were intentionally retaliated against. The Supreme Court’s ruling is expected to have a major impact on the ability of whistleblowers to win lawsuits filed under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Advocates for whistleblowers said a decision to uphold the appeals court ruling would discourage individuals from coming forward to report wrongdoing at publicly traded companies.
Lewitas Hyman routinely represents financial advisors and other registered representatives who were wrongfully terminated by their firm. Our attorneys take a thoughtful approach to clients’ cases by first trying to work with the terminating firm concerning the Form U5 disclosure. When necessary, our attorneys are prepared to file wrongful termination and defamation claims. Contact Lewitas Hyman at (888) 655-6002 or through our online contact form for a free consultation.