Starnes Davis Florie

White Collar, Compliance & Investigations

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Many businesses whose activities can have acute and far-reaching impacts on individuals, other businesses, and markets are heavily regulated by federal and state governments.  Not only the organization themselves, but also individual directors and executives—and their good faith decisions and performance of their duties—can come under the government’s scrutiny.  Liability can arise from seemingly routine decisions and innocuous policies or actions.  Running afoul of the law can result in penalties, fines, restitution and disgorgement, debarment from government bidding and contracting, and imprisonment of responsible corporate “white collar” personnel.

We proactively educate business clients on the proper way to respond to investigations—whether initiated by information request, grand jury subpoena, warranted search, or otherwise—in an effort to avoid well-intentioned but uninformed or ill-advised actions that make a difficult situation worse and more costly.  We are versed in the government’s use of coordinated and parallel investigations, pleas and proffers, and deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements.  We have had success negotiating purely civil resolutions of matters that, at inception, also carried the threat of criminal consequences.  We are also experienced in civil and criminal trial procedure if that is the path that ultimately results.

The business judgment rule, good insurance coverage, and the integrity of a company’s officers and employees are all important in avoiding liability and obtaining indemnity for claims, but they are not absolute shields against liabilities that may be financially catastrophic, affect a business’s ability to obtain licenses or contracts, or threaten the liberty of individuals.  The firm has the capacity to assist clients in government compliance audits, inspections, or other scrutiny; responding to audit findings or inspection reports; or addressing anticipated or pending government investigations, prosecutions, or other enforcement action.

We also create and implement compliance programs in accordance with governmental guidelines and conduct internal investigations, assessments and due diligence on potential merger and acquisition targets, joint venture partners and third parties to minimize future risk of government and regulatory investigation.

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