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Business Articles Awards > Private Enforcement

DOJ Statements May Signal Civil Antitrust Enforcement Against Individual Employees

John M. Majoras, David P. Wales, Kathryn M. Fenton, Michelle K. Fischer, J. Bruce McDonald, Ryan C. Thomas, Stephen J. Squeri, and Nathaniel J. Harris. Jones Day Client Alert, 2015

See Bruce McDonald's resume See Michelle K. Fischer's resume See John M. Majoras's resume See David P. Wales's resume See Kathryn M. Fenton's resume See Ryan C. Thomas's resume See Stephen J. Squeri's resume See Nathaniel J. Harris's resume

The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division will consider individual civil enforcement actions against executives implicated in corporate wrongdoing, according to recent comments by DOJ Assistant U.S. Attorney General Bill Baer. His comments follow a September 2015 memo, "Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing," issued by DOJ’s Deputy Attorney General, Sally Yates. The "Yates Memo" observed that, while corporations have been subject to criminal and civil fines and penalties for fraud and other misconduct, culpable company personnel have not always been held accountable. The Yates Memo appears intended to bridge this gap, and it puts company executives on notice that they individually may be pursued if they violate the law even on behalf of their employer. If the Yates Memo were adopted as part of antitrust policy – and there has been no announcement it will – it could bring significant changes to civil antitrust enforcement (as opposed to criminal prosecutions where the individual criminal prosecution already is the norm).

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