Jul

29

DOJ’s Antitrust Division’s Amnesty Agreements in Jeopardy of Public Revelation

Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : July 29, 2008

On July 25, 2008, the D.C. Circuit reversed summary judgment in favor of the government that denied appellant’s Freedom of Information Act request. Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group Ltd. v. United States, Nos. 07-5191, 07-5192 2008 WL 2853214 (D.C. Cir. July 25, 2008) (attached Stolt v. U.S.). The appellant (Stolt-Nielsen) had sought the Antitrust Division’s amnesty agreements with other recipients that were based on the model that the Antitrust Division used in the early days of the program. Stolt limited its request to allow for redaction of the names of companies and individuals from the request. The amnesty program allows the first company or individual that self-reports an antitrust violation to receive immunity from prosecution except in extraordinary circumstances. Congress also has enacted legislation that reduces an amnesty recipient’s exposure from treble to single damages in private antitrust litigation. Thus, amnesty can be invaluable to a company that learns of criminal antitrust misconduct of its officers. The D.C. Circuit reversed the district court that held that the information sought by Stolt was not reasonably segregable because the district court did not make any findings to support its decision. The D.C. Circuit remanded the case for the district court to make findings consistent with its opinion. As you may recall, Stolt had been in litigation over enforcement of its amnesty agreement ultimately prevailing at trial. The Antitrust Division revoked the agreement claiming that Stolt breached it by continuing to violate the antitrust laws after entering into the agreement. The Eastern District of Pennsylvania disagreed and dismissed the indictment. (See Mach 15, 2008 Post, “DOJ’s Antitrust Division (Criminal Section) Suffers Four Major Losses Within the Last Year.”

Leave a Reply