Coppinger-Martin v. Solis, 627 F.3d 745 (2010)

Carole Coppinger-Martin alleged that Nordstrom, Inc. violated the whistle-blower-protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”), 18 U.S.C. § 1514A, by terminating her employment in retaliation for her reporting to supervisors conduct she believed violated the rules and regulations of the SEC. The United States Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) dismissed Coppinger-Martin’s complaint as untimely. The Ninth Circuit denied Coppinger-Martin’s petition for review, holding that her complaint was filed more than 90 days after she was notified that her job was being eliminated as well as more than 90 days after her last day of employment. The Court rejected Coppinger-Martin’s contention that equitable tolling should extend the 90-day filing period because she was not aware of Nordstrom’s retaliatory motive until after her employment ended and she learned for the first time that other Nordstrom employees were performing many of her former job duties. The Court also rejected her assertion that equitable estoppel should prevent Nordstrom from asserting the statute of limitations defense. See also BBA Aviation PLC v. Superior Court, 190 Cal. App. 4th 421 (2010) (writ of mandate issued to quash service of summons on English parent company of California employer).