Summary: Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy LLC

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Summary: Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy LLC

The plaintiff, in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy LLC, sued the subsidiary and its holding company for firing him based on his actions as a whistleblower. Accordingly, the petitioner internally exposed several activities that purportedly involved accounting fraud based on the rules provided by the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act as well as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Berman alleged that Neo terminated his employment, despite violating the protection conditions provided by the Dodd-Frank Act, specifically Section 21F. The petitioner claimed that the defendant’s actions were retaliatory, hence breaching the anti-retaliation regulations stipulated under the Act in question. However, the plaintiff did not inform the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about any illegal conduct during his tenure or after his retrenchment. Based on the delineation of the term “whistleblower” in Section 21F of the Dodd-Frank Act, the District Court for the Southern District of New York established that the statute offers informant protection to individuals that are terminated after exposing allegations regarding unlawful activities to the SEC. In this respect, the Court dismissed Berman’s petition because his services were expunged before reporting the respective claims to the SEC. However, the claimant filed an appeal that was presided over by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit concerning the dismissal. Contrary to the rationale offered by the District Court, the Second Circuit asserted that informants must not report details regarding illegal conduct to the SEC to receive protections based on Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation conditions. The surmision was founded on the narrow definition of “whistleblower” under Section 21F(a)(6). Consequently, the Second Circuit delayed the conveyance of its mandate, further permitting the Supreme Court to decide its involvement. Nonetheless, the defendants-appellees chose to avoid following certiorari with the Court, thereby remanding the issue to the District Court.

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