Cases & Deals

Aetna obtains decision compelling arbitration of whistleblower claim under Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Client(s) Aetna Inc.

Jones Day represented Aetna Inc. in a whistleblower complaint brought by a former high level executive. The district court held that there is no inherent conflict between arbitration and the statutory purposes of Sarbanes-Oxley's whistleblower provision. Accordingly, the court dismissed the federal whistleblower complaint and ordered arbitration rejecting a challenge to the arbitration agreement based on the confidentiality of the contractual arbitration process and provisions limiting discovery.

The plaintiff appealed the court's decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, where the U.S. Department of Labor filed an amicus brief supporting Aetna's position regarding the arbitrability of the plaintiff's claim. Jones Day received a favorable decision on appeal when the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order to compel arbitration. The Second Circuit's decision in Guyden v. Aetna Inc. is significant because it represents the first time a Federal Court of Appeals addressed the issue of whether SOX claims may be subject to mandatory employment arbitration agreements.

Guyden v. Aetna, Inc., No. 305 CV 1652 (D. Conn.) aff'd, 06-4954-CV (2d Cir. Oct 2, 2008)