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9th Circuit to Decide Whether Corporate Whistleblowers Can Contact the Press


Tides v. Boeing Case will set National Precedent

Washington, D.C. April 6, 2011. On April 15th, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit Court will hear argument on a landmark case that will decide whether employees can blow the whistle to the news media on corporate fraud.

In Tides v. Boeing Corporation, the lower court upheld the firing of two Boeing employees, Nicholas P. Tides (a compliance specialist) and Matthew C. Neumann (an auditor) after they provided the Seattle Post-Intelligencer with credible allegations of unethical activity and fraud.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is the first court in the United States that will address the issue of whether employees can be fired under federal whistleblower laws simply for providing non-confidential information about potential fraud to the press.

The National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief on behalf of the whistleblowers and NWC Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn was granted permission by the Court to co-argue the case along with plaintiffs’ attorney John J. Tollefsen of Tollefsen Law PLLC.

According to Mr. Kohn:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is the first appeals court to address the issue as to whether contacts to the media are protected under the post-Enron whistleblower laws. The ruling will have a national impact. The stakes could not be higher.

Barring public disclosure of creditable allegations of fraud rewards those committing “insider trading” and punishes honest investors.

A study by the University of Chicago determined that the news media was an essential source of information to investors and the public concerning corporate fraud.

Oral argument will be on Friday, April 15, 2011, at the William K. Nakamura U.S. Courthouse, 1010 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor, Courtroom #2, in Seattle, WA 98104. Oral arguments are scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time.

Special Press Advisory

NWC Executive Director Stephen Martin Kohn will be in Seattle on April 15th, 2011 and will be available for interviews regarding the Tides case and the current state of whistleblower protections in the United States. Mr. Kohn is the author of six books on whistleblower law, including his newest book The Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself (Lyons Press, 2011). He has represented whistleblowers for over 27 years and was extensively involved in the legislative process that led to the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Act corporate whistleblower protection provisions. For more information attached below is Mr. Kohn’s biographies from the National Whistleblower Center and the law firm for which he is a partner.


Lower Court’s Decision Dismissing Whistleblowers’ case

National Whistleblowers Center’s amicus curiae brief

For more information about Tides v. Boeing read NWC Legal Director Richard Renner’s blog posting



 Corporate whistleblowers
 Tides v. Boeing
 9th Circuit
 corporate fraud
 freedom of speech

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