21 May 2018
On May 9, 2018, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") would implement a new policy discouraging regulators and law enforcement agencies engaged in parallel investigations from "piling on" multiple penalties for the same misconduct. DOJ’s new policy, which has been incorporated into the U.S. Attorney's Manual, encourages coordination between agencies, both among DOJ components and externally with other regulators in the U.S. and around the world, to prevent what Rosenstein characterized as "disproportionate" enforcement of laws and "duplicative" penalties against corporate actors.
While the announcement is ostensibly a shift in policy, its impact remains uncertain. The new policy –while not enforceable – will provide companies with some new ammunition in their negotiations with DOJ. However, it remains to be seen whether DOJ’s new approach will lower the total dollar value of high-profile corporate settlements, particularly those that test the enforcement mandates of parallel U.S. regulatory agencies, let alone law enforcement and regulatory agencies in multiple jurisdictions.