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Andersen Jury Instruction: A New Collective Corporate Liability?Andersen Jury Instruction: A New Collective Corporate Liability?

Shortly before announcing its verdict in the Arthur Andersen obstruction of justice trial last month, the jurors presented District Judge Melinda Harmon with the perplexing question of whether they had to be unanimous as to which Andersen employee acted with corrupt intent in obstructing the SEC investigation into the collapse of the Enron Corp. Because, as indicated on the special verdict form, the jury ultimately reached a unanimous decision on the identity of the corrupt actor, Judge Harmon’s decision that the jury need not be unanimous on this question may never be ruled on by an appellate court. The jury’s question, however, raises important issues about corporate criminal liability that warrant further consideration and exploration.

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