July 30 is National Whistleblower Appreciation Day, commemorating the signing of our country’s first whistleblower law in 1778. In the midst of the Revolutionary War, and faced with the dilemma of how to address the retaliatory dismissal and jailing of a pair of Navy sailors who had reported the mistreatment of enemy soldiers, our country’s earliest leaders made the critical choice to stand by these whistleblowers.

Social media is a prevalent part of almost all of our lives. Nearly everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some other social platform today. But most of us aren’t thinking about the effect these platforms could have on pension funds or retirement plans. What happens when the CEO of the company you or your pension fund hold stock in is also on Twitter?

Vaping among today’s youth has reached crisis levels. If you have any doubt, look at the numbers. Even as traditional cigarette use continues to decline among high school students, vaping “increased alarmingly” between 2017 and 2018 by 78 percent, according to the FDA, to more than 3 million American teens. Shockingly, when accounting for middle schoolers, that number rises to more than 3.6 million.

Today’s decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals addressing the public disclosure of the ARCOS (Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System maintained by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, DEA, of controlled substances from their point of manufacturer through their distribution) database is a win for the public and for public health in this country.

With the volume of filed National Prescription Opiate Litigation cases (more than 1,800), which comprise just 10% of the nation’s counties and cities, a structure and process is needed to provide all counties and cities nationwide, filed and unfiled, with a collective and powerful voice in the litigation, and create a pre-established mechanism through which plaintiffs can consider and have a vote in potential settlements with defendants.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in a Food Drug and Cosmetic Act preemption case Merck v. Albrecht. The case sought to settle whether a judge or jury should decide the fate of complex medical litigation claims barred by prior FDA action, and to articulate standards for such “clear evidence” preemption.

Jodi Westbrook Flowers

Allegations were recently raised that in the midst of VW’s attempts to restore broken trust, the company and its subsidiary Audi were secretly lying to customers and regulators by selling pre-production vehicles to the public that legally should have been headed for the junkyard. It’s a classic case of irony.

Oklahoma Attorney General announced a settlement in the opioid litigation with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family. This is a significant step in the effort of the governmental entities to address the opioid epidemic.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected this term to resolve conflicting opinions in False Claims Act (FCA) whistleblower litigation regarding whether an extended statute of limitations should apply to cases in which the government declines to intervene.

The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower recently announced that it awarded $168 million to 13 whistleblowers in 2018 — that is more than half of the total $326 million awarded to whistleblowers since the program was created in 2010 under the Dodd-Frank Act.