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Monday, May 20, 2013

The Supremes Take Fido's Whistleblower Case

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that it will listen to arguments on whether mutual fund employees are subject to the the whistleblower protections of the Sarbanes Oxley Act.

The case involves complaints filed against the Boston Bohemoth by former Fidelity employees Jane Hosang Lawson and Jonathan Zang.

In her complaint, Lawson alleged that Fido had "embarked on a campaign to discredit, harass and intimidate her after she raised concerns regarding fund profitability methods. Fidelity had argued that her claims were "without merit."

Meanwhile, in the other complaint, former PM Zang alleged that he got poor reviews and was fired after he complained that a portfolio manager compensation plan, and how it described the calculations for PM pay, was inaccurate and illegal. Fido also argued that these claims were without merit.

The case was heard by the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, which ruled, in 2012, in favor of Fidelity, and also decided that whistleblower protection to contractors like Fidelity was covered in the Energy Reorganization Act and the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act.

Erich Shnapper of the University of Washington School of Law, who is among the attorneys representing the plaintiffs wrote two briefs arguing in favor of the Supreme Court taking the case, to be found here and here.

Also, the National Whistleblowers Center wrote an amicus brief in support of the argument.

Meanwhile, Fidelity filed two motions against, to be found here and here.

The case has attracted the attention of a number of news outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, BusinessWeek and Law360

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