Case Detail

United States v. Ionia Management S.A.
On January 21, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the criminal conviction of a ship management company, based on the misconduct of several lower-level employees. The employees were accused of failing to report that their foreign-based ship had discharged improperly treated waste water on the high seas. The decision was a setback for WLF, which had filed a brief urging that the conviction be overturned. WLF argued that a corporation should not be held criminally liable for the misconduct of its low-level employees when, as here, they acted in direct contravention of corporate policy and a robust regulatory compliance program. The appeals court disagreed, ruling that imposing criminal liability on a corporation based on a respondeat superior theory is permissible so long as there is evidence that the corporation's employees were acting within the scope of their employment.
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6/6/2008: Download the Brief

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