More than five years after filing a SOX whistleblower retaliation case, UBS whistleblower Trevor Murray prevailed at trial. The jury awarded Murray $653,000 in back pay and $250,000 in compensatory damages. Congratulations to Murray’s counsel Broach and Stulberg and Herbst Law.Murray-jury-verdict
Murray alleged in his SOX complaint that UBS terminated his employment in 2012 for blowing the whistle on Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) colleagues directing him to “preclear” drafts of his reports to ensure that the reports were favorable to UBS’ CMBS products and trading positions. Murray alleged that he complained about pressure to produce misleading reports and that UBS terminated his employment one month after his most recent complaint.
In a Rule 50 motion, UBS asserted that Murray did not raise any concern about pressure to alter his reports and that no supervisor exerted such pressure. And UBS claimed that it included Murray in a reduction-in-force based solely on economic circumstances and without regard to his alleged protected conduct.
Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Jury Verdicts
As amended in 2010, the whistleblower protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act authorizes jury trials and uncapped compensatory damages. The verdict in Murray is consistent with a trend of SOX whistleblowers recovering substantial damages at trial. Jurors often quickly grasp the serious consequences of the retaliation that whistleblowers endure, and appreciate the important public interest in ensuring that whistleblowers can disclose wrongdoing without fear of reprisal. Indeed, a pro se SOX whistleblower who prosecuted his case for eight years recovered approximately $5M. Corporate Counsel profiled that case in an article titled How to Help a Whistleblower.
These posts summarize additional recent SOX jury verdicts:
- Jury Awards Former Bio-Rad Counsel $11M in Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Case
- Jury Awards Six Million Dollars to Whistleblower in Sarbanes-Oxley Case
- JP Morgan SOX Whistleblower Wins $1.13M at Trial
Section 806 of SOX provides robust protection to corporate whistleblowers. Recently Zuckerman Law released a guide to the SOX whistleblower protection law: Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection: Robust Protection for Corporate Whistleblowers. The guide summarizes SOX whistleblower protections and offers concrete tips for corporate whistleblowers based on lessons learned during years of litigating SOX whistleblower cases.