Rise in Untimely Recalls Makes Whistleblower Rewards Necessary for Auto Industry

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McEldrew Young Attorneys comment on the need for the Thune-Nelson Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act.

McEldrew Young
Whistleblower tips have proven an effective means to safeguard investors from securities violations and should be used to protect families from unsafe vehicles as well.

Since Fiscal Year 2009, automobile manufacturers have paid more than $140 million in penalties to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for untimely recalls. * For the ten years prior, no company paid the NHTSA more than $1 million in civil penalty settlements for violations of the Vehicle Safety Act. **

The dangers posed by the auto sector's delayed recalls led U.S. Senators to introduce legislation (S. 2949) on November 20, 2014 to incentivize employees in the automobile industry to provide information about dangerous vehicles to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Thune-Nelson Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act would allow potential rewards for whistleblowers employed by auto manufacturers, part suppliers and dealerships up to 30 percent of monetary penalties over $1 million resulting from enforcement actions by the Department of Transporation or Justice Department. ***

"Delayed car recalls have put millions of American lives in danger on our roads and highways over the past five years," commented Eric L. Young, Partner at McEldrew Young. "If Congress adopts the legislation, the potential for whistleblowers should put pressure on the auto industry to reveal problems to the American public faster."

The Thune-Nelson bill was announced in the same week as the Securities and Exchange Commission released its annual Dodd-Frank whistleblower report to Congress and the Department of Justice released data on Fiscal Year 2014 False Claims Act enforcement actions. Whistleblowers received more than $400 million for tips to the U.S. Government this year. ****

"The United States has recognized the importance of whistleblowers to law enforcement in other areas in the past decade," stated James J. McEldrew, III, Partner at McEldrew Young. "Whistleblower tips have proven an effective means to safeguard investors from securities violations and should be used to protect families from unsafe vehicles as well."

"I have seen the effects of car accidents on families as a trial attorney in Philadelphia for the past 30 years," continued McEldrew. "Employees in the auto industry who can prevent Americans from suffering horrific accidents due to defective vehicles should be protected from retaliation and encouraged to report misconduct."

"We look forward to participating in the debate about the contents of the legislation and thank U.S. Senators John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Bill Nelson (D-Florida) for introducing the bill into the U.S. Senate and Senators Clair McCaskill (D-Missouri) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada) for co-sponsoring it," stated Young.

About Eric L. Young, Esq.

Eric Young is a nationally recognized whistleblower attorney with more than 40 client tips under active investigation by the Department of Justice, Internal Revenue Service and the Securities & Exchange Commission. He represented the whistleblower receiving the first mandatory award under IRS Code Section 7623(b) and served as an expert witness in litigation surrounding the largest tax whistleblower award.

About James J. McEldrew, III, Esq.

James J. McEldrew, III is a trial attorney in Philadelphia representing clients in transportation accidents, FELA claims and medical malpractice. He is a past President of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association and the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys.

About McEldrew Young

McEldrew Young is a law firm based out of Philadelphia, PA representing DOJ, SEC, CFTC and IRS whistleblowers under the False Claims Act, Dodd-Frank Act and IRS Section 7623(b). Attorneys at the firm also represent individuals in litigation resulting from catastrophic injuries involving medical malpractice, transportation accidents and FELA claims of railroad workers. Additional information about the firm can be found at http://www.mceldrewyoung.com/

*http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/Civil+Penalty+Settlement+Amounts and http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/Civil_Penalties_1999-2012

**http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/Civil_Penalties_1999-2012

***"Senators introduce auto industry whistle-blower bill," David Shepardson, The Detroit News, November 20, 2014, http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/2014/11/20/senators-introduce-auto-industry-whistle-blower-bill/19310527/

****http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-recovers-nearly-6-billion-false-claims-act-cases-fiscal-year-2014

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