On March 20, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court declined the invitation to review a former Morgan Stanley employee’s claims that he is entitled to whistleblower protection, despite his failure to report his complaints to the SEC. This decision follows the Sixth Circuit’s ruling that the plaintiff’s allegations that he worked with the FBI to investigate his claims were too vague to be actionable under the Dodd-Frank Act.
John S. Verble, the would-be whistleblower, submitted his petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court in February, which sought guidance on whether the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower protections extend to any employee that reports alleged wrongdoing. The trial court that originally dismissed Verble’s complaint had interpreted the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower protections as inapplicable to employees who do not report to the SEC. In affirming the dismissal of Verble’s claims, the Sixth Circuit determined that it did not need to decide the question of whether Verble qualified as a whistleblower under the Dodd-Frank Act because Verble’s allegations did not state a cause of action. Consistent with its custom, the Supreme Court’s denial of the petition for writ of certiorari did not provide any information as to why it did not accept the case for further review.
The case is John S. Verble v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, case number 16-946, 2017 U.S. LEXIS 1909 (Mar. 20, 2017).