Lisa Phelan, Joseph Folio, and Samuel Pollock-Bernard authored an article for Competition Policy International discussing the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division indicting 10 corporate executives in the broiler chicken industry before indicting or reaching a plea agreement with a single company, and explaining the implications of this focus on individuals in cartel prosecutions and private civil enforcement actions.
“These ‘bold’ steps by the Division regarding its approach to individual executives appear to have borne little fruit so far,” the authors wrote. “In the broiler chickens investigation, the Division was not able to convict any of the 10 executives it charged at the outset of the investigation. By October 2022, after five acquittals, two mistrials, and an adverse pretrial ruling about the evidence it would be able to introduce at trial, the Division finally admitted defeat and dismissed all remaining charges. So, an investigation that started with a bang—the indictment of 10 executives in a familiar, ‘kitchen-table’ industry—ended with a whimper, and has only a single corporate plea to show for years of investigation and multiple trials. Although it is only one investigation, the Division’s pursuit of individual executives may have come at the expense of building a sound and sustainable case sufficiently persuasive to a jury.”
Read the full article.