Lisa Phelan spoke to Bloomberg Law discussing how corporations that disclose price-fixing and other federal antitrust violations are set to lose a significant benefit that’s helped shield them from excessive damages in private civil suits.
The law, known as the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement & Reform Act (ACPERA), affords some protection from follow-on civil antitrust lawsuits for companies that are the first to self-report collusive conduct to the Justice Department and gain leniency in federal prosecutions. Companies afforded the statute’s benefits are required to hand over all relevant documents related to civil suits, help show all the facts related to a case’s claims, and also help ensure witnesses are made available, but due to ambiguities, it’s not always clear to courts when companies have satisfied the statute’s requirements.
According to Lisa, consumers and other corporations have used that vagueness to their benefit by asserting in court that a corporate defendant hasn’t met the statutory requirements. “Plaintiffs sometimes can be seen holding out and kind of stringing you along for years and years before you get a resolution,” Lisa said.
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