Bringing light to the DOJ’s cartel fine methodology with the auto parts plea agreements

May 30, 2019

It has been acknowledged by both practitioners and the government that transparency in the calculation of criminal antitrust fines by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is important for the continued success of criminal antitrust policy.  Recent auto parts investigations provide a large and diverse set of plea agreement observations that are compared to gain a better understanding of DOJ’s criminal fining policy for corporations and to assess whether the sentencing outcomes are consistent, both across the investigations and with DOJ’s stated policies. In this article, authors Michelle Burtis, Daniel K. Oakes, and Mary Beth Savio discuss the analysis showing that with regard to certain inputs into the fine calculations, the DOJ provided additional transparency in the auto parts plea agreements, although in other areas the methods used to determine inputs remain opaque. While this analysis is specific to the auto parts litigation, the article provides useful insights for class certification practitioners. 
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