The Third Circuit today upheld dismissal of securities claims against Exxon Mobil as too late under the three-year statute of repose.  The court ruled that the 2002 enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley didn’t lengthen the repose (or limitations) period for false-proxy claims under section 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act.  Because the statute of repose period for section 14(a) claims ended before the plaintiffs filed suit, the court affirmed their dismissal.  In re Exxon Mobil Corp. Securities Litig., No. 05-4571 (3d Cir. Aug. 27, 2007).

The court also held that, although section 1658(b) of Sarbanes-Oxley does apply to securities fraud claims under section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5, the statute did not revive claims that expired before enactment.  The three-year repose period ran out four months before Sarbanes-Oxley became law.  The court accordingly pronounced the 10(b) claim dead on arrival, too.

Barry Barnett

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