Somers v. Digital Realty Trust, Inc., 850 F.3d 1045 (9th Cir. 2017)
Paul Somers, who was formerly employed as a vice president of Digital Realty, alleged that he was fired after he made several reports to senior management regarding possible securities law violations. Somers did not report his concerns to the SEC. Somers sued Digital Realty for violation of Section 21F of the Securities and Exchange Act, which includes anti-retaliation protections created by the Dodd-Frank Act. The district court followed precedent from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and held that the applicable SEC regulation extends anti-retaliation protection to all those who make disclosure of suspected violations, regardless of whether the disclosure is made to SEC or just internally. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed and affirmed denial of the employer’s motion to dismiss. Cf. United States ex rel. Kelly v. Serco, Inc., 846 F.3d 325 (9th Cir. 2017) (False Claims Act lawsuit was properly dismissed on summary judgment where plaintiff failed to satisfy the applicable materiality standard); see also Shaw v. Superior Court, 2017 WL 1315681 (Cal. S. Ct. 2017) (former hospital employee is not entitled to jury trial in retaliatory termination action arising under Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1278.5(g) itself, though such a right exists for trial of common law claim based on statute).