Supreme Court’s Reversal in Arthur Andersen Case Casts Spotlight on Document Retention Policies

June 07, 2005

Corporate Responsibility Alert

The Supreme Court has reversed one of the most publicized convictions flowing out of the Enron debacle—the conviction of public accounting giant Arthur Andersen for witness tampering. Because this conviction was based on the manner in which Andersen implemented its document retention policy, much of corporate America may hope that this case signals a reversal of the judiciary’s recent trend of imposing harsh penalties for failure to preserve evidence. However, the unique criminal statute at issue may prevent the Supreme Court’s decision from having a direct or immediate effect on this trend. Accordingly, document retention is likely to remain a legal minefield for the foreseeable future.

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