IT PAYS TO KNOW PEOPLE - Turns out you don’t have to keep working for the SEC to get paid by the SEC. The agency’s widely hailed whistleblower program has paid millions in recent years to former SEC lawyers who have come to dominate the market for representing tipsters seeking payouts through the program, a new study found. As Law.com’s Andrew Goudsward reports, an analysis by Alexander Platt, an associate professor at the University of Kansas Law School, found that whistleblowers who retained counsel received substantially higher awards on average than those without, and of those who hired lawyers, a small group of repeat players—many of whom once worked at the SEC—was by far the most successful. The study estimated that a quarter of the total award payouts the SEC issued from the inception of the whistleblower program in 2011 through 2020 went to clients of lawyers who formerly worked at the agency. Using a standard 30-40% contingency fee, Platt estimated that the SEC paid out between $53 million and $70 million to its own alumni. Repeat SEC whistleblower attorneys earned an average of $10.3 million in awards for their clients, compared with just under $6 million for whistleblowers counseled by lawyers who hadn’t previously secured an SEC payout, according to the analysis.
WHO GOT THE WORK?℠ - Derek T. Rollins of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart has entered an appearance for Sysco New Mexico in a labor grievance pertaining to COVID-19 work reductions. The case, filed July 14 by Youtz & Valdez on behalf of International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local Union 492, seeks to enforce an arbitration award requiring the defendant to pay all employees for a minimum 40-hour work week for the period from March 2020 to Dec. 2020. The suit, filed in New Mexico District Court, claims that Sysco New Mexico has refused to comply with the Aug. 2021 award. The case, assigned to U.S. District Judge Jerry H. Ritter, is 1:22-cv-00520, International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. Sysco New Mexico, LLC. >> Read the filing on Law.com Radar and check out the most recent edition of Law.com’s Who Got the Work?℠ column to find out which law firms and lawyers are being brought in to handle key cases and close major deals for their clients.
ON THE RADAR - Springbig, a cannabis platform for dispensaries and brands, was hit with a lawsuit Thursday in Florida Southern District Court over alleged wage-and-hour violations. The suit was brought by attorney Mark J. Beutler on behalf of Jenifer Zduncyk. Counsel have not yet appeared for the defendant. The case is 9:22-cv-81350, Zduncyk v. Springbig, Inc. Stay up on the latest deals and litigation with the new Law.com Radar.
Bayer Scores 5th Consecutive Defense Verdict Over Monsanto’s Roundup By Amanda Bronstad
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
BAD BILLS - A former Reed Smith partner has been referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for allegedly altering client billing documents ahead of being questioned about personal expenses, according to an SRA decision. As Law.com International’s Hannah Walker reports, the U.K. Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) decided to refer George Panagopoulos—formerly Reed Smith’s Athens office managing partner—after he instructed his secretary to bill three of Reed Smith’s clients for personal expenses incurred by him relating to a trip to London with his daughter in October 2019, according to the prosecution document. Then in February 2020, he “altered billing documents” prior to a meeting in which he knew he would be questioned about the expenses. During the meeting, he “represented that the alterations he made to the billing documents immediately prior to the meeting were made at the time he first reviewed these documents, knowing that the representation was untrue.” The SRA states that the allegations “are as yet unproven.”