On 1 December 2023, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a Sherman Act conviction of a former executive of an aluminum products manufacturer for failure to state a per se antitrust offense. While DOJ is considering en banc review of this opinion, if upheld the decision could have lasting implications for how the DOJ proceeds with indictments involving parties that engage in dual distribution. We will continue to monitor for future developments in this case as it moves forward.
On 4 October 2023, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco of the U.S. Department of Justice announced a new DOJ-wide policy that seeks to provide greater certainty as to the potential benefits to acquirers that uncover criminal conduct at a target company. The DOJ’s Mergers & Acquisitions Safe Harbor Policy for voluntary self-disclosures provides greater certainty to acquirers who self-report within the safe harbor period, fully cooperate with the DOJ in its investigation, and engage in requisite, timely, and appropriate remediation, pay restitution, and disgorge any ill-gotten gains.
A federal judge granted six individual defendants’ joint motion for judgment of acquittal in a criminal antitrust trial involving allegations that the defendants conspired to allocate the labor market for aerospace industry employees. The ruling was issued mid-trial before the jury was asked to deliberate. This ruling marks another loss for the Department of Justice in a series of no-poach and wage-fixing criminal prosecutions and is significant because the court held that the alleged no-poach agreement did not constitute a per se market allocation violation as a matter of law.