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Government Enforcement Exposed - "The GEE"
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03 Mar 2015 SCOTUS Limits Definition of “Tangible Object” under Sarbanes-Oxley Act

The Supreme Court recently issued a decision in the case discussed in the December 2014 post “Prosecutorial Over-criminalization: Fishing for Guilty Pleas.” This case involved the conviction of Mr. Yates, a fisherman, who was found guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. §1519, the so-called “anti-shredding” provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. A federal jury convicted Yates of destroying a tangible object with the intent to obstruct an investigation after he ordered his crew to discard some fish which fell short of the minimum legal size. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the ruling, finding that the phrase “tangible object” applied to fish.   The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision issued last week, overturned the Eleventh Circuit and ruled in favor of Mr. Yates. In its brief, the Government argued…

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02 Dec 2014 Prosecutorial Over-criminalization: Fishing for Guilty Pleas

On November 5, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case involving a fisherman, Mr. Yates, who was convicted of violating the so-called “anti-shredding” provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was passed in 2002 in the wake of the Enron scandal. The case arose from a 2007 search of the Miss Katie, Mr. Yates’ fishing vessel. A Florida state officer boarded the ship at sea and noticed fish that appeared less than 20 inches long, which was under the minimum legal size of grouper. The officer placed the smaller fish into a crate, issued Yates a citation, and ordered Yates to take the crate to port for seizure.   Instead, Yates ordered his crew to throw some of the smaller fish overboard. Officials…

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07 Mar 2014 Barnes & Thornburg Legal Alert – Supreme Court Opens a Pandora’s Box of Whistleblower Litigation

By Brian E. Casey |   On Tuesday, the Supreme Court opened the door to a potential wave of whistleblower litigation under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s anti-retaliation provision, with its surprising 6-3 decision in Lawson v. FMR LLC.  The Supreme Court’s dissent predicts that even housekeepers, gardeners, and nannies might be able to assert retaliation claims under the Act.  How broadly future courts will interpret Lawson may depend on the imagination of plaintiffs’ lawyers, but one thing is certain – Lawson has created more questions, and more litigation, than it resolved.   For a more detailed analysis, please see the Client Alert published today jointly by the Firm’s Finance, Corporate Governance, and Mergers & Acquisition Litigation practice group and the Labor & Employment Department. You can…

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