Akin Gump called in for whistleblower dispute

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has been parachuted in by US biopharmaceutical company Nektar Therapeutics to defend an unfair dismissal lawsuit filed by a former in-house legal adviser.

Nektar and four directors, including general counsel Nevan Elam, and former vice president of corporate legal Paula Kasler, have been named in the suit filed by former senior corporate counsel Ellen Leznik.

The suit is filed under whistleblower protections offered by Sarbanes-Oxley. It claims that Leznik reported to the company’s management various violations of federal securities laws and internal control procedures, which led to her being fired.

Washington DC-based employee discrimination claim specialist The Employment Law Group is representing Leznik in the suit.

Akin Gump’s San Francisco office is representing Nektar, which closed its UK operations on 30 June. No monetary value has been attached to the claim.