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July 2014 Archives

Arguments in whistleblower case to be heard by CT Supreme Court

While whistleblowers are protected under federal laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, some states -- Connecticut, for instance -- have laws that go further than federal law in protecting employees who report corporate wrongdoing. Now the Connecticut Supreme Court is in a position either to restrict or maintain the whistleblower protections that apply on the state level.

New Jersey Supreme Court Applies Broad Understanding of Common Interest Privilege

The New Jersey Supreme Court applied the "Common Interest" rule for first time since its establishment as the "LaPorta Rule" in a 2001 case. Arising from the attorney-client privilege, this rule provides "confidentiality protections for attorney-client communications and attorney work-product when they are shared with another lawyer to further a common interest, which doesn't have to be identical and may or may not involve the same case" ( The New Jersey Supreme Court applied an especially broad application of the rule, allowing lawyers to share information confidentially even if they are not part of the same case, if the issues are not exactly identical, or if there does not exist an actual threat of litigation.

"The Purge" Creators Sued for Copyright Infringement

Douglas Jordan-Benel, a successful Hollywood screenwriter, charges that Universal City Studios, United Talent Agency ("UTA"), and writer James Demonaco stole his ideas from his Settler's Day screenplay to create the movie, The Purge. The movie is about a futuristic America that is functioning very well economically and socially due to The Purge, which is a 12-hour period that occurs once a year where all crime is legal.

Humana Insurance Insider Trading Investigation Includes 44 Funds

The Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") is looking into insider trading allegations involving Height Securities, LLC ("Height") and 44 of its clients. On April 1, 2013, the Centers for medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") made an announcement regarding reimbursement rates for the medicare advantage program, which resulted in private insurance comapnies like Humana Insurance ("Humana") saving millions of dollars.

SEC Continues to Crack Down on Microcap Stock Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") has just charged seven people, including Abraxas Discala, ex-husband of former "Sopranos" star Jamie-Lynn Sigler, for allegedly participating in a "pump-and-dump" scheme (also known as microcap stock fraud). This is the third charge the SEC has made this week against alleged microcap stock fraud.

Rolling over Assets to Individual Retirement Accounts Could Put Participants' Best Interests in Jeopardy

As a result of certain alleged, unscrupulous practices in the retirement industry, there is increasing scrutiny of and litigation regarding roll-overs of 401(k) and similar retirement accounts to individual retirement accounts ("IRAs") and similar vehicles. Moving funds from a 401(k) or other retirement fund into an IRA can appear enticing for some plan participants due to increased investment options and vehicles available - beyond those typically offered by fiduciary plan sponsors. The amount of assets and investment options in IRAs equal $5.4 trillion, as compared to $5.2 trillion in the defined contribution retirement market (inclusive of 401(k) investments), see ira-fees-higher-than-401ks-consider-taking-control/ (general discussion of IRA fees vs. 401(k) fees) - so, to put it mildly, the IRA market can be a lucrative one for brokers, registered investment advisors, other plan advisors and service providers to target as participants consider rolling over 401(k) funds to IRAs as they near or attain retirement age. The problem, according to SFMS Patrner, James E. Miller ([email protected]), is that many individuals and entities "assisting" participants in the roll-over process appear to be acting principally in their own interest and, at times, against the participants' best interests.