Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Rigged Justice Report Highlights Corporate Crimes

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren Releases ‘Rigged Justice’ Report Highlighting Most Powerful U.S. Corporations Committing Crimes Against Americans

“Rigged Justice: 2016,” a report from U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) released today, highlights 20 cases in 2015 in which federal agencies failed to hold U.S. corporations accountable for crimes against Americans – leaving workers, investors, taxpayers, and families vulnerable.

“The failure to punish big corporations or their executives when they break the law undermines the foundations of this great country,” the report reads. “If justice means a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but it means nothing more than a sideways glance at a CEO who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars, then the promise of equal justice under the law has turned into a lie.”

Industries in the report include major pharmaceutical companies, for-profit educational companies, auto manufacturers, and financial and energy companies, among others.

“Despite the fact that the twenty cases listed here were among the most highly publicized cases of corporate misconduct settled in 2015,” the report reads, “in only one case was a corporation taken to trial and an individual indicted or otherwise required to answer for their contributions to corporate wrongdoing–and that case involved multiple deaths.”

The report is especially critical of the U.S. Department of Justice for avoiding prosecutions, but also other agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – though for different reasons as the report notes that OSHA lacks proper tools and financing to address some problems.

A sampling of cases in “Rigged Justice” include: General Motors — For its years-long cover-up of ignition switch problems in its vehicles (leading to at least 124 deaths and 275 injuries); Citigroup — For allegations that they defrauded investors in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis; and ExxonMobil re Pegasus Pipeline Oil Spill — relating to the Pegasus Pipeline rupture in 2013, which spilled approximately 134,000 gallons of heavy crude oil on Mayflower, Arkansas, contaminating homes and displacing families.

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