An article in Corporate Counsel titled How to Help a Whistleblower tells the story of Dr. Perez, a Sarbanes Oxley whistleblower who prevailed at trial after eight years of hard-fought litigation. Dr. Perez recovered approximately $5M and represented himself throughout most of the litigation, including at trial.
The story in Corporate Counsel focuses on the lessons that companies can learn from this case, and the story quotes SOX whistleblower lawyer Jason Zuckerman about some of the likely reasons why Dr. Perez prevailed:
“This is a true David vs. Goliath story,” says Jason Zuckerman, a lawyer for whistleblowers in Washington D.C. “Progenics was well-represented and appeared to spare no expense on its defense. Yet a pro se plaintiff prevailed at trial.”
Progenics acted far too quickly, says Zuckerman. The purpose of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, enacted with much fanfare six years earlier, was to protect corporate whistleblowers from retaliation. “Dr. Perez didn’t disclose confidential company information to anyone outside the company and instead used the information to raise a concern in good faith to senior management,” Zuckerman says. “The company should have addressed his disclosure head-on.”
Zuckerman says he’s seen similarly swift terminations in other Sarbanes-Oxley cases. “Management just assumes that the whistleblower is raising a concern in bad faith,” he says. “Management investigates the whistleblower rather than investigating the whistleblower’s disclosure.”
For more information about the case, see these two posts at the Whistleblower Protection Law Blog: