DOJ Eases Yates Memo’s “All or Nothing” Approach to Corporate Cooperation Credit

On November 29, 2018, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) much-anticipated revisions to the September 2015 Memorandum on “Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing,” commonly known as the “Yates Memo” and named for Rosenstein’s predecessor, Sally Q. Yates. The Yates Memo emphasized the importance of holding individuals accountable for corporate misconduct, and set forth principles for DOJ prosecutors to follow in determining when corporations would qualify for “cooperation credit” in corporate criminal and civil investigations. The most significant—and controversial—provision in the Yates Memo required that “in order to qualify for any cooperation credit, corporations must provide to the Department all relevant facts relating to the individuals responsible for the misconduct.” The new policy announced by Rosenstein modifies this “all or nothing” approach to cooperation credit by giving DOJ prosecutors and civil attorneys more flexibility.

In announcing the new policy, Rosenstein reaffirmed the Department’s commitment to prosecuting individual wrongdoers, stating that, “The most effective deterrent to corporate criminal misconduct is identifying and punishing the people who committed the crimes.” However, he stated that the lack of flexibility in the Yates Memo’s approach impeded resolutions and wasted resources, and in some cases was not strictly enforced.

Visit the Duane Morris LLP website to read the full Alert.

New DOJ Guidance on Corporate Compliance Monitors Is More Business-Friendly

On October 11, 2018, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Brian A. Benczkowski issued new guidance on the selection of corporate compliance monitors in Criminal Division matters. The Benczkowski Memorandum signals a shift toward a more business-friendly approach to the imposition and use of monitors by the DOJ. Among other new provisions, the guidance directs prosecutors to weigh the potential benefits of a monitor against the costs and burdens on the company, and to consider whether the company’s existing compliance program and controls obviate the need for a monitor.

Read the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Courts Confront Clash Between Federal and State Marijuana Laws

The clash between state and federal law regarding the use of medical marijuana continues to present an ongoing dilemma for courts around the country, as illustrated by a recent decision by the Eighth Circuit. In the United States v. Schostag, the Eighth Circuit affirmed a decision by the District Court of Minnesota barring a felon from using state-legal medical marijuana while he is on supervised release.

To read the full text of this blog post, please visit the Duane Morris Cannabis Industry blog.

The Second Circuit Loosens The Reins On Insider Trading Prosecutions

By Jovalin Dedaj

After an intervening decision by the United States Supreme Court last year and a rare rehearing of oral argument in March, the Second Circuit has affirmed the conviction of Matthew Martoma, a former portfolio manager at S.A.C. Capital Advisors. In doing so, the Second Circuit has signaled a substantial shift in insider trading law by reversing course from its 2014 decision, which made prosecuting insider trading cases more difficult. Continue reading The Second Circuit Loosens The Reins On Insider Trading Prosecutions

Reining in the SEC: The Supreme Court Limits Disgorgement to a Five-Year Statute of Limitations

By Mauro M. Wolfe and Jovalin Dedaj

In yet another setback for the SEC, the Supreme Court unanimously decided that disgorgement actions, a cornerstone of SEC enforcement, are subject to a five-year statute of limitations. Continue reading Reining in the SEC: The Supreme Court Limits Disgorgement to a Five-Year Statute of Limitations

Ninth Circuit Hands Defense an Important Brady Win

Defense attorneys in the Ninth Circuit are celebrating the appellate court’s recent decision in United States v. Liew for its explication of the Brady doctrine and its implicit recognition that sometimes FBI agents are not as forthcoming as they should be.  Continue reading Ninth Circuit Hands Defense an Important Brady Win

Home-Field Advantage? Scrutinizing the Independence of the SEC’s ALJs

By Eric R. Breslin, Mauro M. Wolfe, and Jovalin Dedaj

In the last few weeks, the SEC and its administrative law judges (“ALJs”) have tested the truthfulness of the old adage, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

On May 3, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied the SEC’s request to rehear a decision, in which the Court determined that the SEC’s administrative law judges were unconstitutional appointments. That decision was just another setback for the SEC in a high-stakes constitutional debate which could potentially put the issue of how the SEC appoints its ALJs before the Supreme Court. Later this month, much to the dismay of the SEC, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will rehear arguments in its decision, which initially held in favor of the SEC. Continue reading Home-Field Advantage? Scrutinizing the Independence of the SEC’s ALJs

Melissa Geller Named A “New Leader of the Bar” by New Jersey Law Journal

Melissa GellerDuane Morris associate Melissa Geller has been named one of the New Jersey Law Journal‘s “New Leaders of the Bar.” With this list, the Law Journal “endeavors to identify attorneys representing the future of the legal profession in New Jersey.”

The honorees will be recognized at the Law Journal’s Professional Excellence event on June 20.

Time is Running Out for the SEC: The Circuit Split on Limiting SEC Disgorgement to a Five-Year Statute of Limitations Signals an Impending Major Change

By Mauro M. Wolfe and Jovalin Dedaj

Under the new Administration, we have been promised a new tone regarding how Government interfaces with the market.  This “change” is of particular interest to those who defend matters before the SEC.  Will we see a change from “broken windows” enforcement where everything matters to a more traditional, and possibly, more friendly regulatory environment?  Winding its way through the courts is an SEC life-altering moment: does the SEC concede that there is a five-year statute of limitations on enforcement cases including disgorgement?  As far as penalties and fines are concerned, the Supreme Court has already ruled on that issue and said it does.  The SEC lost that one.  The question remaining is whether the Supreme Court will apply the same limitation to disgorgement and how the new SEC leadership will respond.  The short answer is that such a limitation should apply.  Continue reading Time is Running Out for the SEC: The Circuit Split on Limiting SEC Disgorgement to a Five-Year Statute of Limitations Signals an Impending Major Change