Shareholders Can Use Whistleblower Documents in Fraud Complaint: Judge

Reuters Alison Frankel's On the Case
August 1, 2014

Jonathan M. Plasse remarks on the handling of documents in an investigation, deeming them admissible

After Judge Chen appointed Labaton Sucharow to lead a shareholder class action against Vocera, the Firm’s chief investigator, Jerome Pontrelli, found the company’s former audit director, who spoke to and gave Pontrelli a binder of internal documents related to the fraud investigation.

“We wanted to do everything appropriately,” said Labaton Sucharow partner, Jonathan M. Plasse.

Vocera asked the judge to block the Firm from using the material in an amended complaint against the company.

Chief among the factors the judge considered was the Firm’s handling of the disputed material. Vocera didn’t claim that Labaton Sucharow played any role in the purported misuse of the documents, he noted. Firm lawyers didn’t solicit the supposed misappropriation and didn’t make use of the material before it asked the court to rule whether it could. “The way we responded…made a big difference,” said Plasse.