Fired CFO’s Sarbanes­Oxley Whistleblower Award Affirmed

On January 26th, the Fourth Circuit affirmed a jury award in favor of a whistleblower that came forward under the Sarbanes­Oxley Act (“SOX”). Plaintiff, the former CFO of SouthPeak, alleged she was terminated after she raised concerns about SouthPeak’s SEC filings in violation of the anti­retaliation provisions of SOX. The Fourth Circuit held that plaintiff’s claims were timely even though they were filed more than two years after her termination. The court found that because SOX retaliatory discharge claims do not require proof of fraud, the appropriate limitations period was the four­year period provided in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1658(a) rather than the two­year limitations period set forth in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1658(b)(1). The court further held that the administrative complaint in this case satisfied the exhaustion requirement, and that emotional distress damages may be awarded under SOX. Jones v. SouthPeak Interactive Corp.