Life science research company appeals $11 million verdict awarded to FCPA whistleblower
Following a $55 million civil and criminal FCPA settlement by a life science research and diagnostics company in November 2014, the company’s former General Counsel and Secretary filed a civil complaint against the company and executive officers and board members alleging that he was fired for blowing the whistle on FCPA issues. In February 2017 a jury awarded the former employee a total of $11 million in punitive and compensatory damages (including double back-pay under Dodd-Frank).
The company recently appealed that verdict to the Ninth Circuit on the grounds that the trial court should have directed the verdict in favor of the company because, it argues, the alleged FCPA violations were the result of the former employee’s lack of due diligence, because he did not first consult the company’s compliance officers and FCPA lawyers before reporting, and because his allegations were discredited by trial witnesses. The company also claims that the trial court wrongly excluded certain impeachment testimony, and that he did not qualify as a “whistleblower” under Dodd-Frank in light of his internal reporting.