James Hoyer Partner Sean Keefe, an expert on SEC whistleblower cases, lauded a recent Miami appeals court ruling that helps to protect whistleblowers. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals rejected a lower court ruling that whistlebower protections do not apply to employees who are supposed to report fraud as part of their job description.
Keefe told the legal publication LAW360 that this is good news for whistleblowers. Here is an excerpt from the article:
The case made waves in the whistleblower community when the trial court’s decision was first handed down, according to James & Hoyer PA attorney Sean Keefe, who said any decision that cuts into the teeth of the False Claims Act, whether at the state or federal level, gets notice among attorneys.
Keefe said the trial court’s ruling, had it stood, “could have created a blueprint” for employers to protect themselves against the reach of the whistleblower statute.
Instead, the Third District handed whistleblowers another tool to fight retaliation that Keefe said could be referenced even in cases dealing with private-sector employees, which are not explicitly covered in the statute.
“It’s good for private citizens too,” Keefe said. “They might have been harmed by this decision had the Third District not ruled this way.”
The case under appeal involved a city of Miami independent general auditor who reported securities violations by the city to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and then aided in the investigation. Victor Igwe’s contract was not renewed after he reported $38 million in improper transfers intended to improve the city’s bond rating.
Click here to read more in the LAW360 article.