Judge denies Thomson Reuters' request to dismiss ex-employee lawsuit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday rejected Thomson Reuters Corp's bid to dismiss a lawsuit by a former employee who claims he was fired in retaliation for complaining about how the company distributed some economic data.

Mark Rosenblum, the former employee, sued Thomson Reuters in April, alleging that he lost his job without severance after telling the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he believed Thomson Reuters had violated insider-trading laws by the early release of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers to some subscribers.

Thomson Reuters requested that a Manhattan federal court dismiss the claim on the basis that Rosenblum contacted the FBI and not the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which provides whistleblower protections.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan concluded, however, that a 2011 SEC rule did not require Rosenblum to make a report to that regulator to obtain whistleblower protection.

Scheindlin also dismissed Rosenblum's claim for punitive damages, saying the law did not authorize them.

A spokesman for Thomson Reuters said the company is disappointed with the court's decision. "The company has policies in place to ensure that all terminations are handled fairly and in accordance with applicable law," said Thomson Reuters spokesman Lemuel Brewster.

"This decision is not a ruling on the merits of the case, and we look forward to presenting the facts relating to the plaintiff's claims as this litigation unfolds. We remain confident that the claims asserted against us are baseless, and we will continue to vigorously defend ourselves in court."

Attorneys for Rosenblum were not immediately available to comment.

Rosenblum claimed that Thomson Reuters released the University of Michigan survey results to trading clients who pay a higher fee to receive data two seconds before other regular subscribers. Regular subscribers get it five minutes ahead of the general public.

In July, Thomson Reuters said it would suspend its early release of the consumer sentiment data to its high-speed trading clients after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched a probe into the matter and requested the suspension.

The case is Rosenblum v. Thomson Reuters (Markets) LLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-02219.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Alden Bentley)

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