Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Murphy v. Smith, Docket No. 16-1067

Interpretation (shall/may):

(…) The word “shall” usually creates a mandate, not a liberty, so the verb phrase “shall be applied” tells us that the district court has some nondiscretionary duty to perform. See Lexecon Inc. v. Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, 523 U. S. 26, 35 (1998) (“The mandatory ‘shall’ . . . normally creates an obligation impervious to judicial discretion”) (…) If Congress had wished to afford the judge more discretion in this area, it could have easily substituted “may” for “shall.”

Secondary sources: R. Huddleston & G. Pullum, Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, ch. 8, §§1, 12.2, pp. 669, 729–730 (2002); Black’s Law Dictionary 1543 (10th ed. 2014); Oxford English Dictionary 504 (2d ed. 1989); Webster’s New International Dictionary 2220 (2d ed. 1950).

(U.S.S.C., Feb. 21, 2018, Murphy v. Smith, Docket No. 16-1067, J. Gorsuch)

La signification du terme "shall" est ici encore confirmée.

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, Docket No. 16-1276, J. Ginsburg

Whistleblower: Sarbanes-Oxley: Dodd-Frank: SEC: Chevron deference: Jurisdiction:

Endeavoring to root out corporate fraud, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, 116 Stat. 745 (Sarbanes-Oxley), and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 124 Stat. 1376 (Dodd-Frank). Both Acts shield whistleblowers from retaliation, but they differ in important respects. Most notably, Sarbanes-Oxley applies to all “employees” who report misconduct to the Securities and Exchange Com­mission (SEC or Commission), any other federal agency, Congress, or an internal supervisor. 18 U. S. C. §1514A(a)(1). Dodd-Frank delineates a more circum­scribed class; it defines “whistleblower” to mean a person who provides “information relating to a violation of the securities laws to the Commission.” 15 U. S. C. §78u– 6(a)(6). A whistleblower so defined is eligible for an award if original information he or she provides to the SEC leads to a successful enforcement action. §78u–6(b)–(g). And, most relevant here, a whistleblower is protected from retaliation for, inter alia, “making disclosures that are required or protected under” Sarbanes-Oxley, the Securi­ties Exchange Act of 1934, the criminal anti-retaliation proscription at 18 U. S. C. §1513(e), or any other law subject to the SEC’s jurisdiction. 15 U. S. C. §78u–6(h)(1)(A)(iii).

The question presented: Does the anti-retaliation provi­sion of Dodd-Frank extend to an individual who has not reported a violation of the securities laws to the SEC and therefore falls outside the Act’s definition of “whistleblow­er”? Pet. for Cert. (I). We answer that question “No”: To sue under Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation provision, a per­son must first “provide . . . information relating to a violation of the securities laws to the Commission.” §78u–6(a)(6). (…) “When a statute includes an explicit definition, we must follow that definition,” even if it varies from a term’s ordinary meaning. Burgess v. United States, 553 U. S. 124, 130 (2008). This principle resolves the question before us. Our charge in this review proceeding is to determine the meaning of “whistleblower” in §78u–6(h), Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation provision. The definition section of the statute supplies an unequivocal answer: A “whistleblower” is “any individual who provides . . . information relating to a violation of the securities laws to the Commission.” §78u–6(a)(6) (emphasis added). Leaving no doubt as to the definition’s reach, the statute instructs that the “defi­nition shall apply” “in this section,” that is, throughout §78u–6. §78u–6(a)(6). (…) We find the statute’s defini­tion of “whistleblower” clear and conclusive. Because “Congress has directly spoken to the precise question at issue,” Chevron, 467 U. S., at 842, we do not accord defer­ence to the contrary view advanced by the SEC in Rule 21F–2. See 17 CFR §240.21F–2(b)(1). The statute’s unambiguous whistleblower definition, in short, precludes the Commission from more expansively inter­preting that term. See Burgess, 553 U. S., at 130.

To recover under §1514A, an aggrieved employee must exhaust administrative remedies by “filing a complaint with the Secretary of Labor.” §1514A(b)(1)(A); see Law­son, 571 U. S., at ___–___ (slip op., at 5–6). Congress prescribed a 180-day limitation period for filing such a complaint. §1514A(b)(2)(D). If the agency “does not issue a final decision within 180 days of the filing of a com­plaint, and the agency’s delay is not due to bad faith on the claimant’s part, the claimant may proceed to federal district court for de novo review.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 6) (citing §1514A(b)). An employee who prevails in a pro­ceeding under §1514A is “entitled to all relief necessary to make the employee whole,” including reinstatement, backpay with interest, and any “special damages sus­tained as a result of the discrimination,” among such damages, litigation costs. §1514A(c).

Sarbanes-Oxley also prohibits retaliation against an “employee” who “files, . . . testifies, participates in, or otherwise assists in a proceeding filed or about to be filed . . . relating to an alleged violation of” the same provisions of federal law addressed in 18 U. S. C. §1514A(a)(1). See §1514A(a)(2).

(…) When enacting Sarbanes-Oxley’s whistleblower regime, in comparison, Congress had a more far-reaching objec­tive: It sought to disturb the “corporate code of silence” that “discouraged employees from reporting fraudulent behavior not only to the proper authorities, such as the FBI and the SEC, but even internally.” Lawson, 571 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 4). Accordingly, the Sarbanes-Oxley anti-retaliation provision covers employees who report fraud not only to the SEC, but also to any other federal agency, Congress, or an internal supervisor. See 18 U. S. C. §1514A(a)(1).

(…) Somers and the Solicitor General express concern that our reading would jettison protection for auditors, attor­neys, and other employees subject to internal-reporting requirements. See Brief for Respondent 35; Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 21. Sarbanes-Oxley, for example, requires auditors and attorneys to report certain information within the company before making disclosures externally. See 15 U. S. C. §§78j–1(b), 7245; 17 CFR §205.3. If the whistleblower definition applies, Somers and the Solicitor General fear, these professionals will be “left . . . vulnerable to discharge or other retaliatory action for complying with” their internal-reporting obliga­tions. Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 22. Our reading shields employees in these circumstances, however, as soon as they also provide relevant information to the Commission. True, such employees will remain ineligible for Dodd-Frank’s protection until they tell the SEC, but this result is consistent with Congress’ aim to encourage SEC disclosures. See S. Rep. No. 111–176, at 38. Somers worries that lawyers and auditors will face retaliation quickly, before they have a chance to report to the SEC. Brief for Respondent 35–36. But he offers nothing to show that Congress had this concern in mind when it enacted §78u–6(h). Indeed, Con­gress may well have considered adequate the safeguards already afforded by Sarbanes-Oxley, protections specifically designed to shield lawyers, accountants, and similar professionals. See Lawson, 571 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 17).

(U.S.S.C., Feb. 21, 2018, Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, Docket No. 16-1276, J. Ginsburg)

Discussion et décision portant sur l'étendue de la protection, notamment contre des représailles, accordée aux lanceurs d'alertes par Sarbanes-Oxley et Dodd-Frank.

Sarbanes-Oxley protège tous les employés qui rapportent des irrégularités à la SEC, à l'administration, au Congrès, ou à un supérieur hiérarchique.

Dodd-Frank protège une classe plus restreinte d'employés : sont seuls protégés ceux qui ont rapporté à la SEC une violation du droit des Securities. C'est le rapport à la SEC qui déclenche la protection. La Cour parvient à cette conclusion après lecture de la définition donnée par la loi au terme "whistleblower", définition qui est à cet égard tout à fait clair. Le but de ce système est d'encourager les divulgations à la SEC. La SEC avait donné à ce terme une définition plus générale, qui ne saurait bénéficier de la déférence au sens de la jurisprudence Chevron, du fait de la clarté de la loi qui exclut une interprétation. Un tel employé qui dépose ainsi est donc aussi protégé par la loi pénale qui punit l'auteur de représailles contre un informant, cf. 18 U. S. C. §1513(e).

La procédure prévue par Sarbanes-Oxley est tout d'abord de nature administrative, devant le Secrétaire au Travail, éventuellement devant la cour de district fédérale si le Secrétaire ne rend pas sa décision dans un certain délai. L'employé victorieux peut obtenir une décision de réintégrande, et se voir accorder les rémunérations dues, avec intérêts, ainsi que d'autres dommages à prouver, tels par exemple les frais de la procédure.

Class v. United States, Docket No. 16-424

Plea agreement: Waiver: Appeal (direct): Constitutional claims: Harlan, J.: Ames, J.:

Blackledge v. Perry, 417 U. S. 21 (1974)

Menna v. New York, 423 U. S. 61 (1975) (per curiam)

United States v. Broce, 488 U. S. 563 (1989)

A guilty plea, by itself, does not bar a federal criminal defendant from challenging the constitutionality of his statute of conviction on direct appeal.

In this case, Class neither expressly nor implicitly waived his constitutional claims by pleading guilty. As this Court understands them, the claims at issue here do not contradict the terms of the in­dictment or the written plea agreement and they can be resolved “on the basis of the existing record.” Broce, supra, at 575. Class chal­lenges the Government’s power to criminalize his (admitted) conduct and thereby calls into question the Government’s power to “constitu­tionally prosecute” him. Ibid. (quoting Menna, supra, at 61–62, n. 2). A guilty plea does not bar a direct appeal in these circumstances.

Fifty years ago this Court directly addressed a similar claim (a claim that the statute of conviction was unconsti­tutional). And the Court stated that a defendant’s “plea of guilty did not . . . waive his previous constitutional claim.” Haynes v. United States, 390 U. S. 85, 87, n. 2 (1968). Though Justice Harlan’s opinion for the Court in Haynes offered little explanation for this statement, sub­sequent decisions offered a rationale that applies here.

(…) The Court noted that a guilty plea bars appeal of many claims, including some “antecedent constitutional viola­tions” related to events (say, grand jury proceedings) that had “occurred prior to the entry of the guilty plea.” (quoting Tollett v. Henderson, 411 U. S. 258, 266– 267 (1973)). While Tollett claims were “of constitutional dimension,” the Court explained that “the nature of the underlying constitutional infirmity is markedly different” from a claim of vindictive prosecution, which implicates “the very power of the State” to prosecute the defendant. Blackledge, 417 U. S., at 30. Accordingly, the Court wrote that “the right” Perry “asserts and that we today accept is the right not to be haled into court at all upon the felony charge” since “the very initiation of the proceedings” against Perry “operated to deprive him due process of law.” Id., at 30–31.

(…) The Court held that “a plea of guilty to a charge does not waive a claim that—judged on its face—the charge is one which the State may not constitutionally prosecute.” Menna, 423 U. S., at 63, and n. 2. Menna’s claim amounted to a claim that “the State may not convict” him “no matter how validly his factual guilt is established.” Ibid. Menna’s “guilty plea, therefore, did not bar the claim.”

These holdings reflect an understanding of the nature of guilty pleas which, in broad outline, stretches back nearly 150 years. In 1869 Justice Ames wrote for the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts: “The plea of guilty is, of course, a confession of all the facts charged in the indictment, and also of the evil intent imputed to the defendant. It is a waiver also of all merely technical and formal objections of which the defendant could have availed himself by any other plea or motion. But if the facts alleged and admitted do not constitute a crime against the laws of the Commonwealth, the defendant is entitled to be dis­charged.” Commonwealth v. Hinds, 101 Mass. 209, 210.

(…) As an initial matter, a valid guilty plea “forgoes not only a fair trial, but also other accompanying constitutional guarantees.” Ruiz, 536 U. S., at 628–629. While those “simultaneously” relinquished rights include the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination, the jury trial right, and the right to confront accusers, McCarthy v. United States, 394 U. S. 459, 466 (1969), they do not include “a waiver of the privileges which exist beyond the confines of the trial.” Mitchell v. United States, 526 U. S. 314, 324 (1999). Here, Class’ statutory right directly to appeal his conviction “cannot in any way be characterized as part of the trial.” Lafler v. Cooper, 566 U. S. 156, 165 (2012).

In more recent years, we have reaffirmed the Menna-Blackledge doctrine and refined its scope.

In sum, the claims at issue here do not fall within any of the categories of claims that Class’ plea agreement forbids him to raise on direct appeal. They challenge the Gov­ernment’s power to criminalize Class’ (admitted) conduct. They thereby call into question the Government’s power to “constitutionally prosecute” him. Broce, supra, at 575 (quoting Menna, supra, at 61–62, n. 2). A guilty plea does not bar a direct appeal in these circumstances.

We hold that Rodney Class may pursue his constitutional claims on direct appeal.

(U.S.S.C., Feb. 21, 2018, Class v. United States, Docket No. 16-424, J. Breyer)

L'appel direct n'est pas d'emblée exclu à l'encontre d'un "plea agreement" : le condamné pour une infraction fédérale peut faire valoir de la sorte l'inconstitutionnalité (fédérale) de sa condamnation (sauf renonciation, intégrée au "plea", à ces moyens de rang constitutionnel).

Toutefois, même de rang constitutionnel, certains moyens pourront être considérés comme indisponibles du fait du "plea" (comme p. ex. le droit à une procédure par le biais de l'intervention du Grand Jury, le droit de ne pas s'incriminer soi-même, le droit au Jury, le droit de confronter ceux qui déposent contre soi). Mais le "plea" n'empêchera pas le condamné de faire valoir des moyens qui contestent la compétence de l'état de poursuivre pénalement en l'espèce, donc sa compétence d'initier la poursuite pénale (laquelle serait ainsi contraire au principe de "due process of law"). L'accusé ne peut donc pas renoncer valablement à des droits qui se situent au-delà des limites du procès lui-même.

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, Docket No. 16-1276, J. Thomas, with whom JJ. Alito and Gorsuch join, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment

Interpretation (statute): Senate report: Committee report: Legislative history:

I join the Court’s opinion only to the extent it relies on the text of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Con­sumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), 124 Stat. 1376. The question in this case is whether the term “whistleblower” in Dodd-Frank’s antiretaliation provision, 15 U. S. C.§78u–6(h)(1), includes a person who does not report infor­mation to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The answer is in the definitions section of the statute, which states that the term “whistleblower” means a person who provides “information relating to a violation of the securi­ties laws to the Commission.” §78u–6(a)(6). As the Court observes, this statutory definition “resolves the question before us.” The Court goes on, however, to discuss the supposed “purpose” of the statute, which it primarily derives from a single Senate Report. Even assuming a majority of Con­gress read the Senate Report, agreed with it, and voted for Dodd-Frank with the same intent, “we are a government of laws, not of men, and are governed by what Congress enacted rather than by what it intended.” Lawson v. FMR LLC, 571 U. S. 429, ___ (2014) (Scalia, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment) (slip op., at 1). And “it would be a strange canon of statutory construction that would require Congress to state in committee reports . . . that which is obvious on the face of a statute.” Harrison v. PPG Industries, Inc., 446 U. S. 578, 592 (1980). For these reasons, I am unable to join the portions of the Court’s opinion that venture beyond the statutory text.

(U.S.S.C, Feb. 21, 2018, Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, Docket No. 16-1276, J. Thomas, with whom JJ. Alito and Gorsuch join, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment).

Dans son opinion concurrente, le Juge Thomas, rejoint par les Juges Gorsuch et Alito, expose que dans la mesure où le texte même de la loi répond à la question posée en l'espèce, il n'est nul besoin pour la Cour de se référer à des travaux législatifs pour éclairer la loi, qui n'a pas à l'être, étant déjà suffisamment claire. Nul besoin non plus dans ce cas de recourir à une interprétation téléologique.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

CNH Industrial N.V. v. Reese, Docket No. 17-515, Per Curiam

Interpretation (contracts): Collective-bargaining agreements: Extrinsic evidence: Declaratory relief: Vested rights: Injunction:

This Court has long held that collective-bargaining agreements must be interpreted “according to ordinary principles of contract law.” Tackett, 574 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 7) (citing Textile Workers v. Lincoln Mills of Ala., 353 U. S. 448, 456–457 (1957)).

(…) A contract is not ambiguous unless it is subject to more than one reasonable interpretation.

(…) Principle of contract law that the written agreement is presumed to encompass the whole agreement of the parties.

The “traditional principle,” Tackett explained, is that “‘contractual obligations will cease, in the ordinary course, upon termination of the bargaining agreement.’” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 13) (quoting Litton Financial Printing Div., Litton Business Systems, Inc. v. NLRB, 501 U. S. 190, 207 (1991)). “Contracts that are silent as to their duration will ordinarily be treated not as ‘operative in perpetuity’ but as ‘operative for a reasonable time.’” 574 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 13) (quoting A. Corbin, Corbin on Contracts §553, p. 216 (1960)).

Like Tackett, this case involves a dispute between retir­ees and their former employer about whether an expired collective-bargaining agreement created a vested right to lifetime health care benefits.

When the 1998 agreement expired in 2004, a class of CNH retirees and surviving spouses (collectively, the retirees) filed this lawsuit, seeking a declaration that their health care benefits vested for life and an injunction pre­venting CNH from changing them.

When a contract is ambiguous, courts can consult extrinsic evidence to determine the parties’ inten­tions. See 574 U. S., at ___ (GINSBURG, J., concurring) (slip op., at 1) (citing Williston on Contracts §30:7, pp. 116–124 (4th ed. 2012) (Williston)). But a con­tract is not ambiguous unless, “after applying established rules of interpretation, it remains reasonably susceptible to at least two reasonable but conflicting meanings.” Id., §30:4, at 53–54.

“When the intent of the parties is unambiguously ex­pressed in the contract, that expression controls, and the court’s inquiry should proceed no further.” Tackett, supra, at ___ (GINSBURG, J., concurring) (slip op., at 1) (citing Williston §30:6, at 98–104).

(U.S.S.C., Feb. 20, 2018, CNH Industrial N.V. v. Reese, Docket No. 17-515, Per Curiam)

Conventions collectives, éventuellement autres contrats collectifs : leur interprétation est régie par le droit général des contrats. Un certain nombre de ces principes sont ici rappelés :

Un contrat n'est pas ambigu, sauf s'il permet plus d'une interprétation raisonnable.

L'accord écrit est présumé contenir l'accord complet des parties.

Les obligations des parties prennent fin au terme du contrat collectif ; les contrats qui ne prévoient rien s'agissant de leur durée sont considérés comme restant en vigueur pendant une durée raisonnable.

Quand un contrat est ambigu, la cour peut se référer à des moyens de preuves extérieurs aux fins de déterminer l'intention des parties.

Quand l'intention des parties est clairement exprimée dans le contrat : cette expression l'emporte, et les investigations de la cour à cet égard prennent fin.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC v. Superior Court, S222314

Labor law: Workplace safety: Cal/OSHA: Unfair competition: Unfair advertising: Consumer protection: Supremacy clause: Preemption: Equitable remedies:

(…) The federal OSH Act (29 U.S.C. § 651 et seq.) provides that the federal Secretary of Labor shall adopt standards for occupational safety and health, but federal law does not preempt state authority when (1) there is no federal standard or (2) there is a state plan for occupational safety and health that has been approved at the federal level.

The federal OSH Act grants the federal Department of Labor the authority to provide and enforce mandatory national standards. (29 U.S.C. § 651(b)(3); see also id., § 655 [calling for promulgation of standards].) The federal Secretary of Labor has delegated certain authority to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (hereafter sometimes federal OSHA) to adopt standards. (Gade v. National Solid Wastes Management Ass’n (1992) 505 U.S. 88, 92 (Gade) (plur. opn. of O’Connor, J.).) If the Secretary of Labor has not promulgated a federal standard with respect to an occupational safety or health issue, states may supply their own standards. (29 U.S.C. § 667(a) [“Nothing in this chapter shall prevent any State agency or court from asserting jurisdiction under State law over any occupational safety or health issue with respect to which no standard is in effect under section 655 of this title”].)

Moreover, even when there are federal standards on an issue relating to occupational safety and health, a state may assume responsibility for developing and enforcing state standards on such issues by developing and submitting to the Secretary of Labor a plan to “preempt” federal standards. In a provision entitled “Submission of State plan for development and enforcement of State standards to preempt applicable Federal standards,” the federal OSH Act states: “Any State which, at any time, desires to assume responsibility for development and enforcement therein of occupational safety and health standards relating to any occupational safety or health issue with respect to which a Federal standard has been promulgated under section 655 of this title shall submit a State plan for the development of such standards and their enforcement.” (29 U.S.C. § 667(b).)

The Secretary must give adequate notice and an opportunity for a hearing before rejecting a state plan. (Id., § 667(d).)

The Secretary of Labor retains some ongoing authority over state plans. For example, the Secretary must “make a continuing evaluation of the manner in which each State having a plan . . . is carrying out such plan.” (29 U.S.C. § 667(f).)

(…) Finally, the federal OSH Act contains a broad savings clause: “Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to supersede or in any manner affect any workmen’s compensation law or to enlarge or diminish or affect in any other manner the common law or statutory rights, duties, or liabilities of employers and employees under any law with respect to injuries, diseases, or death of employees arising out of, or in the course of, employment” (29 U.S.C. § 653(b)(4).)

(…) The Department submitted a Cal/OSHA plan to the federal Secretary of Labor, and it was approved in May 1973. (29 C.F.R. § 1952.7(a) (2017).) The federal regulation provides: “(a) The California State plan received initial approval on May 1, 1973. (b) [federal] OSHA entered into an operational status agreement with California. (c) The plan covers all private sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and Local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit [a federal Department of Labor website].” (29 C.F.R. § 1952.7 (2017).)

(…) Here, there appears to be no dispute, however, that the Cal/OSHA standards, the violation of which was the basis for the district attorney’s UCL and FAL claims, were part of the approved California plan, nor does there appear to be any dispute that use of UCL and FAL claims by local prosecutors pursuing civil actions was not mentioned in the plan’s enforcement provisions. (See, e.g., Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 344.50 [Division of Occupational Safety and Health compliance personnel conduct civil inspections and enforcement actions but lack authority to initiate criminal proceedings].)

“ ‘The supremacy clause of the United States Constitution establishes a constitutional choice-of-law rule, makes federal law paramount, and vests Congress with the power to preempt state law.’ Similarly, federal agencies, acting pursuant to authorization from Congress, can issue regulations that override state requirements. Preemption is foremost a question of congressional intent: did Congress, expressly or implicitly, seek to displace state law?” (Quesada v. Herb Thyme Farms, Inc. (2015) 62 Cal.4th 298, 307-308 (Quesada).)

The United States Supreme Court examined the preemptive effect of the federal OSH Act in Gade, supra, 505 U.S. 88. The high court’s plurality and concurring opinions offer helpful interpretive guidance, but as explained below, in Gade, there was no approved state plan, so the extent to which an approved state plan displaces federal authority was not at issue.

(…) Addressing the separate question whether preemption — still in the absence
of an approved state plan — reached state laws that directly regulated occupational safety and health but also were intended to protect public safety, the plurality concluded that the preemptive effect of the federal law extended to such “dual impact” state laws. (Gade, supra, 505 U.S. at pp. 104-105.)

“In sum, a state law requirement that directly, substantially, and specifically regulates occupational safety and health is an occupational safety and health standard within the meaning of the federal OSH Act. . . . If the State wishes to enact a dual impact law that regulates an occupational safety or health issue for which a federal standard is in effect, . . . the Act requires that the State submit a plan for the approval of the Secretary.” (Gade, supra, 505 U.S. at pp. 107-108).

We acknowledge that the Secretary of Labor has authority to approve modifications to a state’s plan (29 U.S.C. § 667(c)) and “shall . . . make a continuing evaluation of the manner in which each State having a plan . . . is carrying out such plan.” (Id., § 667(f).) Notwithstanding these provisions, the federal OSH Act as a whole does not suggest that the preempted field encompasses all means of enforcement not specifically included in the state’s approved plan.

The UCL concerns unfair competition, a term that “means and includes any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising and any act prohibited by [the false advertising law].” (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200.) The purpose of the UCL “is to protect both consumers and competitors by promoting fair competition in commercial markets for goods and services.” (Kasky v. Nike, Inc. (2002) 27 Cal.4th 939, 949.) As we have said, “the act provides an equitable means through which both public prosecutors and private individuals can bring suit to prevent unfair business practices and restore money or property to victims of these practices.” (Zhang v. Superior Court (2013) 57 Cal.4th 364, 371.)

The FAL, for its part, makes actionable “untrue or misleading” statements made to “induce the public to enter into any obligation” to purchase goods and services. (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500.) Actions to enforce the UCL or FAL, which may be brought by government officials and by individuals who have suffered injury in fact (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17203), address the “overarching legislative concern . . . to provide a streamlined procedure for the prevention of ongoing or threatened acts of unfair competition.” (Zhang, supra, 57 Cal.4th at p. 371.) And the remedies are “cumulative . . . to the remedies or penalties available under all other laws of this state.” (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17205.)

(…) As noted above, under state law, these actions are not considered on their face to be a means of enforcing the underlying law. “ ‘By proscribing “any unlawful” business practice, “the UCL ‘borrows’ violations of other laws and treats them as unlawful practices” that the UCL makes independently actionable. ’ ” (Rose v. Bank of America, N.A. (2013) 57 Cal.4th 390, 396.) We have explained that “by borrowing requirements from other statutes, the UCL does not serve as a mere enforcement mechanism. It provides its own distinct and limited equitable remedies for unlawful business practices, using other laws only to define what is ‘unlawful.’ The UCL reflects the Legislature’s intent to discourage business practices that confer unfair advantages in the marketplace to the detriment of both consumers and law-abiding competitors.” (Id. at p. 397; see People ex rel. Harris v. Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc. (2014) 59 Cal.4th 772, 783).

(…) To recall, “Obstacle preemption permits courts to strike state law that stands as ‘an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress.’ It requires proof Congress had particular purposes and objectives in mind, a demonstration that leaving state law in place would compromise those objectives, and reason to discount the possibility the Congress that enacted the legislation was aware of the background tapestry of state law and content to let that law remain as it was.” (Quesada, supra, 62 Cal.4th at p. 312.)

(…) Under the circumstances, there is no “clear and manifest evidence” (Quesada, supra, 62 Cal.4th at p. 315) of a congressional intent to displace state authority over unfair competition and consumer claims that are premised on Cal/OSHA standards (p. 34).

(…) We conclude that the federal act does not preempt unfair competition and consumer protection claims based on workplace safety and health violations when, as in California, there is a state plan approved by the federal Secretary of Labor. The district attorney’s use of UCL and FAL causes of action does not encroach on a field fully occupied by federal law, nor does it stand as an obstacle to the accomplishment of the federal objective of ensuring a nationwide minimum standard of workplace protection. In addition, the federal act’s structure and language do not reflect a clear purpose of Congress to preempt such claims.

(Cal. S.C., Feb. 8, 2018, Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC v. Superior Court, S222314)

Protection de la santé et de la sécurité au travail, principe de préemption en faveur du droit fédéral, sauf pour les questions que ce droit ne règle pas et pour les questions réglées par un plan d'un état muni de l'approbation fédérale. L'exécution de ces plans est évaluée par le Secrétaire fédéral au Travail.

Le droit statutaire formel ou déduit de la Common law et s'appliquant à l'indemnisation des employés en cas d'incapacité, ou s'appliquant aux droits et obligations des employeurs et employés en cas de maladie, d'accident ou de décès professionnels, continue sans restriction de déployer ses effets, en sus des dispositions OSH fédérales.

L'Etat de Californie a soumis un tel plan, approuvé une première fois en mai 1973. Il s'applique à tous les employeurs et employés du secteur privé, sous réserve d'exceptions listées sur le site du Département fédéral du Travail.

En cas de violation des dispositions Cal/OSHA, le Procureur est compétent pour initier des procédures en concurrence déloyale et en publicité mensongère.

Les rapports entre le droit fédéral régissant les questions précitées et le droit des états s'examinent à la lumière de la "Supremacy clause". Savoir si le principe de préemption s'applique où non implique de déterminer l'intention du Congrès.

De manière générale, la préemption empêchera un acte étatique en matière de santé et de sécurité au travail de déployer ses effets si la question qu'il traite est déjà réglée par le droit fédéral. Dans une telle situation, l'état pourra faire approuver son plan, en vue de lever l'obstacle de la péremption.

En particulier, la législation fédérale ne suggère nullement que la préemption engloberait tous les moyens d'exécution mis en œuvre par les états et non inclus dans les plans approuvés. De la sorte, "l'action publique" menée par le Procureur, et basée sur la législation étatique contre la concurrence déloyale et sur les dispositions de Cal/OSHA, n'est pas barrée par le principe de préemption. Les mesures et sanctions permis par ce droit étatique de la concurrence déloyale sont cumulatives aux autres mesures et sanctions prévues ailleurs dans le droit de l'état.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

18 U.S. Code § 1513 - Retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant

Retaliation against an informant: Whistleblowing: Jurisdiction:

18 U.S. Code § 1513 - Retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant

§ 1513.

Retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant
(1) Whoever kills or attempts to kill another person with intent to retaliate against any person for—
the attendance of a witness or party at an official proceeding, or any testimony given or any record, document, or other object produced by a witness in an official proceeding; or
providing to a law enforcement officer any information relating to the commission or possible commission of a Federal offense or a violation of conditions of probation, supervised release, parole, or release pending judicial proceedings, shall be punished as provided in paragraph (2).
(2) The punishment for an offense under this subsection is—
in the case of a killing, the punishment provided in sections 1111 and 1112; and
in the case of an attempt, imprisonment for not more than 30 years.
(b) Whoever knowingly engages in any conduct and thereby causes bodily injury to another person or damages the tangible property of another person, or threatens to do so, with intent to retaliate against any person for—
the attendance of a witness or party at an official proceeding, or any testimony given or any record, document, or other object produced by a witness in an official proceeding; or
any information relating to the commission or possible commission of a Federal offense or a violation of conditions of probation, supervised release, parole, or release pending judicial proceedings given by a person to a law enforcement officer; or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.
If the retaliation occurred because of attendance at or testimony in a criminal case, the maximum term of imprisonment which may be imposed for the offense under this section shall be the higher of that otherwise provided by law or the maximum term that could have been imposed for any offense charged in such case.
There is extraterritorial Federal jurisdiction over an offense under this section.
Whoever knowingly, with the intent to retaliate, takes any action harmful to any person, including interference with the lawful employment or livelihood of any person, for providing to a law enforcement officer any truthful information relating to the commission or possible commission of any Federal offense, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
Whoever conspires to commit any offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.
A prosecution under this section may be brought in the district in which the official proceeding (whether pending, about to be instituted, or completed) was intended to be affected, or in which the conduct constituting the alleged offense occurred.