These pages have closely followed the civil lawsuit of Sanford Wadler (the former General Counsel and Secretary of Bio-Rad Laboratories) against the company and certain executive officers and board members alleging various unfair employment practices including that Wadler was terminated for blowing the whistle on certain potential FCPA issues.
As highlighted in this previous post, Wadler’s claims were fully litigated and in February 2017 a jury awarded Wadler $2.9 million in back pay and stock compensation and $5 million for punitive damages. The district court doubled the compensatory award pursuant to Dodd-Frank for a total award of approximately $11 million. As highlighted in this previous post, Bio-Rad filed an appeal in the Ninth Circuit challenging various aspects of the trial court decision.
Yesterday in this fragmented decision the Ninth Circuit largely ruled in favor of Wadler. Nevertheless, the court did conclude that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was not a “rule or regulation of the SEC” as that phrase in used in Section 806 of SOX which prohibits in certain instances issuers from retaliating against an employee who reports misconduct.