Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Supreme Court Turns Down Stolt-Nielsen's Cert Petition

International shipping company Stolt-Nielsen S.A. lost out on its bid to have the Supreme Court review a Third Circuit decision overturning an injunction against the Department of Justice that prohibited it from seeking an indictment of the company for antitrust violations.  Stolt-Nielsen had participated in the Antitrust Division's amnesty program that rewards the first company to report a violation with immunity from prosecution, but after it provided documents the DoJ decided that the firm had not been cooperative and began the process of seeking an indictment.  A district court granted an injunction prohibiting an indictment, but the Third Circuit reversed on the ground that a federal court does not have the authority to stop the Executive Branch from pursuing a criminal prosecution.  A grand jury then handed up an indictment in  August 2006.  The Supreme Court denied Stolt-Nielsen's petition for certiorari (here) without comment.  With the case now on the road to trial, the company will pursue a motion to dismiss the indictment on the grounds that the decision to revoke the immunity was improper.  A press release (available here) states:"The Company plans to file its motion to dismiss the indictment on November 22nd in accordance with the scheduling order issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  As we have said previously, it is critical for the Justice Department to honor the solemn promises it makes." (ph)

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