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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Whistle-Blower Can’t Touch SEC’s $24M Haul

(CN) - A whistle-blower award is not available to a man who reported misconduct before the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act, the 2nd Circuit ruled Wednesday.

The Dodd-Frank Act allows whistle-blowers to collect 10 to 30 percent of money won by the Securities and Exchange Commission in a successful enforcement action that exceeds $1 million.

But Larry Stryker provided the SEC with information about wrongdoing by his former employer, Advanced Technologies Group, before Dodd-Frank became law in July 2010.

The SEC thus denied Stryker's claim for a percentage of the $24 million judgment it won against Stryker's former employer.

A three-judge panel with the 2nd Circuit in Manhattan affirmed Wednesday.

"The sole basis for petitioner's claim is Section 21F, which was not enacted until after he took the actions that are the grounds for the award sought," Judge Ralph Winter wrote for the court. "If the purpose of Dodd-Frank was to encourage whistleblower activity, already completed actions would arguably not qualify."

In declining to look at Congress' intent, the court highlighted its adherence to the 1984 case Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council Inc., the cornerstone in Supreme Court precedent for agency deference.

"Even if Congress's intent is unclear, the SEC's interpretation was reasonable and entitled to deference," Winter concluded.

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