Supreme Court Ruling on “Honest Services” Law

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Jill Fisch
Professor of Law
University of Pennsylvania
    • Researches and teaches securities regulation and corporate law.

“The decision is important because the lower court reading potentially extended criminal liability to all corporate executives for breaches of their fiduciary duties rather than limiting it to the type of political corruption at the core of the federal statutes.  The flexible and varying approaches taken by state courts and legislatures in delineating the duty of care and loyalty make these duties poor predicates for criminal liability, and the risk of federal prosecutions for such conduct would greatly impede corporate decision-making at a critical time as our nation’s businesses struggle to respond to the challenges presented by the current economic crisis.”