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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

Exactly What Part Of “To The Commission” Is Ambiguous?

The Dodd-Frank Act gave us many things, including Section 21F of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Section 21F, prohibits employers from retaliating against a “whistleblower”.  15 U.S.C. § 78u-6(h)(1)(A).  We need not guess about the definition of “whistleblower” because Congress conveniently provided the following definition: . . . any individual who provides, or 2 or more…

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SEC Continues To Pay Out Millions In Secrecy

Earlier this week, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced awards to three whistleblowers totaling more than $7 million.  That is about all anyone can say about the awards.  The SEC’s order is only 448 words long, including numerous occurrences of the word “redacted”.  It doesn’t name the company or describe the nature of the investment scheme. Even…

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Is This SEC Claim False And Misleading?

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced yet another whistleblower award.  According to the SEC, the award totals more than $5.5 million dollars.  Tellingly, we don’t, and won’t, know the exact amount.  The headline to the SEC’s press release pegs the number at $5.5 million while the order itself reads: Claimant shall receive an award of [Redacted] percent [Redacted]…

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Has The SEC Paid Millions In Whistleblower Bounties To “Friends And Family”?

Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced yet another large whistleblower bounty.  See SEC Awards Nearly $1 Million to Whistleblower.  This brings to $136 million the total amount awarded to date by the SEC to whistleblowers.  That is a lot of money, especially since it went to only 37 individuals! Were any of those awards made to…

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SEC Hands Out Millions While Leaving The Public In The Dark

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a press release announcing its decision to award $20 million “to a whistleblower who promptly came forward with valuable information that enabled the SEC to move quickly and initiate an enforcement action against wrongdoers before they could squander the money.”  That is about all the public will…

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Five Propositions Concerning The SEC Whistleblower Program

Congress, not the Securities and Exchange Commission, established the whistleblower program six years ago as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  As the program has awarded over $100 million to date, it merits a critical analysis and review. Accordingly, I propose the following five propositions for consideration and debate: The whistleblower program…

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What, If Anything, Impedes The SEC’s Whistleblower Rule?

As I suspected, law firms are churning out memoranda on the SEC’s recent enforcement actions involving alleged impediments to whistleblowers. While accurately, summarizing these actions, I’m not sure that some of the authors have adequately captured the breadth of the rule and the SEC’s even broader reading of the rule. First, the rule itself: (a)…

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Which Code Applies When A Stock Certificate Has Been Lost, Destroyed Or Wrongfully Taken?

Earlier this week, I wrote about Judge Edward M. Chen’s ruling in Sender v. Franklin Res., Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171453, 3-4 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 22, 2015).  Judge Chen applied California Corporations Code Section 419 to a Delaware corporation on the basis that the replacement of a lost or stolen stock certificate was not governed…

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Court Rules Directors Are Agents

Last August, I wrote that Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero would soon be deciding whether a director might be an agent of the corporation.  See Court Poised To Decide Whether Directors Are Agents.  The case, Wadler v. Bio-Rad Labs., Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144468 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 23, 2015), involves the plaintiff’s complaint that he…

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California Judge Sides With Congress and Fifth Circuit In Whistleblower Split

Sean McKessy, Chief, Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower, Division of Enforcement discussed a recent split between the circuits this webcast broadcast last Thursday by TheCorporateCounsel.net.  The split concerns whether the Dodd-Frank Act prohibits employer retaliation only against “whistleblowers”, who are defined as: . . . any individual who provides, or 2 or more individuals acting jointly who provide,…

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