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A recent federal court decision raises concerns about the ability of companies to maintain privilege over materials generated in connection with internal investigations. The case, United States ex rel. Barko v. Halliburton Company et al., No. 1:05-CV-1276 (D.D.C. Mar. 6, 2014), involved allegations by a qui tam relator that his employer committed abuses in connection with government contracts for military support in Iraq. The relator sought to compel documents related to investigations into the same…
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that whistleblower protections of Sarbanes-Oxley extend not only to employees of public companies, but to the employees of their contractors and subcontractors. See Lawson v. FMR LLC, 571 U.S. ___, slip op. (Mar. 4, 2014). By reaching into the workforces of companies that are not themselves regulated by Sarbanes-Oxley, but merely do business with public companies, the Court has vastly increased the scope of protection afforded…