D&O Liability for Antitrust Violations

33 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2020 Last revised: 5 May 2020

Date Written: February 8, 2020


This Article provides a guide for liability of directors and officers (“D&O”) for antitrust violations.

Where violations of law appear profitable, a misalignment of compensation schemes and formal compliance policies may preserve incentives to engage in misconduct. In such situations, the likelihood and prevalence of misconduct heavily depend on the effectiveness of the company’s oversight system. Antitrust violations intend to increase profit, are hard to detect, and are hard to prove. The perceived profitability of antitrust violations, thus, sometimes motivates D&O to participate in, encourage, or ignore such violations.

I review the liability standards that may apply to D&O for antitrust violations, as well as trends in relevant doctrines and enforcement policies. I explain the reasons for the growing risk of personal liability and argue that this risk is likely to continue rising in the foreseeable future. Specifically, today, D&O may be held liable for failures to make good faith efforts to develop and maintain organizational culture of compliance with antitrust law. I outline factors that D&O and their counsels should consider.

Keywords: Antitrust, Personal Liability, Oversight Liability, Fiduciary Duties

Suggested Citation

Orbach, Barak, D&O Liability for Antitrust Violations (February 8, 2020). 59 Santa Clara Law Review 527 (2020), Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 20-05, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3535738

Barak Orbach (Contact Author)

University of Arizona ( email )

1201 E. Speedway Blvd.
Tuscon, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-626-7256 (Phone)

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