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Apple's Disclosures Regarding Jobs' Health Remain Under Scrutiny by SEC
"The issue here is: Did Apple or Jobs make misleading disclosures, tested by what they knew at the time?" said Robert Hillman, a securities law professor at the University of California, Davis. "A disclosure could be misleading if it's a partial truth."Whether the SEC will ultimately be able to take action against Apple or Jobs is unknown, given the uncertainty about the situation and the "murky" laws regarding disclosure of the health of companies' CEOs. Regardless of the extent to which a company has a duty to reveal health matters, it is clear that once a company chooses to speak about an issue, it must do so truthfully.
While there has to be some measure of confidentiality around the health of executives, any disclosures need to be accurate and complete, said Jahan Raissi, a former SEC enforcement attorney.
"Once you open your mouth and start to speak on a topic, you have to say something completely truthful," said Raissi, who is now a partner at Shartsis Friese LLP in San Francisco. "If what you omitted is material, thats a problem."
Jobs' health issues ultimately required him to undergo a liver transplant, although he was still able to meet his stated timeline in returning to work by the end of June.