Individual Prosecutions For Corporate Misconduct: Impact Of The Yates Memo On Big Pharma

This article was previously published in the ABA Section of Litigation Health Law Litigation newsletter

While the Department of Justice (DOJ) has long considered individual accountability a best practice, the release of the Yates Memo signals a major shift in policy that life sciences companies cannot afford to ignore.

The Yates Memo describes six key principles, which have been incorporated into the U.S. Attorneys Manual, to be considered by DOJ attorneys when investigating corporations for civil and criminal wrongdoing.

  1. To qualify for any cooperation credit, corporations must provide to the DOJ all relevant facts relating to the individuals responsible for the misconduct.
  2. Criminal and civil corporate investigations should focus on individuals from the inception of the investigation.
  3. Criminal and civil attorneys handling corporate investigations should be in routine communication with one another.
  4. Absent extraordinary circumstances or approved departmental policy, the Department will not release culpable individuals from civil or criminal liability when resolving a matter with a corporation.
  5. DOJ attorneys should not resolve matters with a corporation without a clear plan to resolve related individual cases, and should memorialize any declinations as to individuals in such cases.
  6. Civil attorneys should consistently focus on individuals as well as the company and evaluate whether to bring suit against an individual based on considerations beyond that individual’s ability to pay.

Navigant’s life sciences and legal industry experts breakdown what the Yates Memo means to the industry and the heightened pressures and critical decision points that need to be considered.

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