In Feldman v. Law Enforcement Associates Corp., 752 F.3d 339 (4th Cir. 2014), a corporation’s president and CEO had a number of disputes with the corporation’s outside directors and with the company’s founder, who apparently remained close to the outside directors.  The founder, who was a major shareholder of the company, had pled guilty to unrelated criminal export violations.  One of the disputes involved the relationship between the corporation and one of its customers, half of the shares of which the founder owned.  The president became concerned about the legality of overseas shipments by the customer, as the founder was banned from making exports as a result of his guilty plea.  The issue was discussed at a board meeting, with disputes later arising as to what was said at the meeting and whether the minutes were falsified.  The president informed the Department of Commerce of the exports, resulting in a federal investigation and a raid on the customer’s headquarters.  Other disputes between the president and the outside directors included the amount of his pay and the relocation of the company’s headquarters without board authorization.  Eventually the president was terminated, and he brought suit alleging that his termination was in retaliation for protected activity under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1514A.  The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants and the Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that the president had failed to provide sufficient evidence that protected activity was a “contributing factor” to the termination – he “failed to satisfy his rather light burden of showing by a preponderance of evidence that the activities tended to affect his termination in at least some way.”  The court noted that the termination occurred about 20 months after his report to the Department of Commerce, that there were other conflicts with the outside directors that immediately preceded his termination, and that another officer who joined him in the protected activity was not terminated.