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Federal Circuit Gives Veteran SEC Lawyer Fired Over Inappropriate Email Another Chance to Regain Job

Posted Apr 10, 2012 4:43 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A trial lawyer for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who was fired after nearly 18 years on the job for sending inappropriate email will get another chance to keep his job.

An arbitrator erred by refusing to let Jeffrey Norris present medical evidence that the circumstances which led to his sending the at-issue emails in 2008 were unlikely to recur by the time the hearing was held in 2010, the Federal Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals held in a Tuesday ruling. The at-issue electronic communications include an internal email that was critical of SEC workers, one to the Washington Post giving his political views and one that contained a confidential report, Reuters explains.

"We hold that where new evidence in mitigation of the penalty imposed is presented, the evidence must be considered in determining whether the agency's imposed penalty was reasonable," Judge Timothy Dyk wrote in the court's opinion.

Attorney Michael Kator represented Norris. He said he hopes the SEC will simply agree to reinstate his 50-something client.

An SEC spokesman declined comment when contacted by the news agency.

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