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.
On 22 March 2023, four defendants were acquitted of criminal wage-fixing and no-poach charges, resulting in yet another loss by DOJ’s Antitrust Division in its criminal pursuit of no-poach agreements.
On 22 February 2023, the US Department of Justice announced a new voluntary self-disclosure policy for corporate criminal enforcement in all 94 United States Attorneys’ Offices across the country. This new voluntary self-disclosure policy is a response to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco’s 15 September 2022 Memorandum insisting all DOJ divisions develop a self-disclosure policy, to the extent one does not already exist. Other DOJ components, including the Criminal Division, have already taken steps to issue or update their own policies on this topic.
On 22 February 2023, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a new voluntary self-disclosure policy for corporate criminal enforcement in all 94 United States Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs) across the country.
This new voluntary self-disclosure policy is a response to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco’s 15 September 2022 Memorandum (“Monaco Memo”) insisting all DOJ divisions develop a self-disclosure policy, to the extent one does not already exist. Other DOJ components, including the Criminal Division, have already taken steps to issue or update their own policies on this topic.
On 3 February 2023, the US Department of Justice announced the withdrawal of three antitrust policy statements that allowed certain information exchanges between competitors in healthcare markets. The day before this announcement, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Doha Mekki of DOJ Antitrust Division warned that DOJ would reconsider these outdated policy statements in light of recent changes in the healthcare industry.
Now that sustainability is a board-level issue, companies are under immense pressure to ensure their supply chains are environmentally and ethically accountable. The motivation may come from internal business, consumers, government, shareholders—or all of them. There are targets, commitments, deadlines, and board pressure to match words with deeds.
US agencies such as the SEC, the CFTC and the FTC have extensive enforcement powers to seek significant financial penalties and limit or otherwise affect conduct through court injunctions or administrative orders. Companies and executives under investigation and threatened with enforcement actions by these agencies often choose to settle rather than litigate. Historically, from as cost-benefit analysis, settlement is preferable to the cost of litigation and the long term risks of extensive fights with agencies that would continue to be their regulators.
On 6 December 2022, the US Department of Justice announced the unsealing of an 11-count indictment filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas charging 12 individuals from Texas and Mexico in a violent conspiracy to monopolize the transmigrante industry in Texas.
Companies looking for ways to ensure their supply chains are environmentally and socially ethical often doubt whether they can effect change alone. Companies in certain industries may decide that a joint initiative can be more effective in developing industry-wide standards, and may determine that working together could be more efficient to meet these goals or objectives. However, such collaborations may raise antitrust risks, and many competition authorities are starting to increase scrutiny of these types of collaborations.
On 10 November 2022, following a 3-1 vote, the Federal Trade Commission issued a policy statement expanding its interpretation of the scope of unfair methods of competition under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. Section 5 of the FTC Act prohibits “unfair methods of competition,” which covers conduct that violates antitrust laws or section 5 itself.