On November 16, 2023, a jury convicted two executives of an appliance sales and distribution company for conspiracy and for failing to report a consumer product defect under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the case represents the first-ever prosecution of corporate executives under the act. The DOJ’s November 17, 2023, press release about the prosecution can be found here. The Hyman, Phelps, & McNamara law firm’s November 28, 2023 memo about the prosecution can be found here.Continue Reading Execs Convicted in First-Ever Consumer Product Safety Reporting Prosecution

In the following guest post, Francis Kean takes a look at the lessons from the U.K. Serious Fraud Office’s recent attempts to criminally prosecute executives of companies that have entered into a deferred prosecution agreement. Francis is a Partner, Financial Lines, at McGill and Partners. A version of this article previously was published as an alert for clients of McGill and Partners. I would like to thank Francis for allowing me to publish this article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Francis’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Why Might a Company Throw its Directors Under a Bus?

D&O insurance typically defines the term “Claim” to include criminal charges after indictment. However, the coverage available under the policy for criminal proceedings is excluded in the event of a final adjudication determining that precluded misconduct actually took place. But what happens to the coverage if there is no final adjudication but rather the criminal charges are resolved through a negotiation that results in a monetary payment by the criminal defendants? In a recent decision, the Eleventh Circuit determined that the applicable D&O insurance policy’s coverage did not extend to amounts paid in negotiated resolution of criminal charges, despite the absence of a final adjudication – not by operation of the exclusion, but because of the nature of the payments. 
Continue Reading 11th Circ.: Florida Public Policy Precludes Coverage for Voluntary Settlement of Criminal Charges

I spend the better part of most days – both in my day job and in writing this blog – thinking about the liabilities of directors and officers. Most of the time I am focused on their civil liabilities. However, even though it is not something I think about all the time, the fact is that the potential liabilities of corporate executives also include criminal liabilities as well. I thought about this recently in reviewing a July 3, 2018 Bloomberg article entitled “From Executive Suit to Jail: One German CEO’s Tales of Prison” (here). The article tells the story of Thomas Middlehoff, a German executive who was convicted criminally and who served time in prison.
Continue Reading Potential Liabilities for Corporate Executives Includes Criminal Liability

white houseA recurring question – one that I am getting now on just about a daily basis – arises from concerns about the Trump administration’s possible impact on the world of directors’ and officers’ liability. Implicit in the question is the assumption that the new administration’s policies and actions will indeed affect D&O claims. While I agree with this assumption – that the new administration’s actions will have an impact–at this point it is still far too early to tell what that impact might be. For now, I think all we can do is watch some key indicators. In this blog post, I review what I think are the key indicators, and what the indicators may tell us about what lies ahead for D&O claims.
Continue Reading How Will the Trump Administration Affect D&O Claims?