In light of the recent multi-state lawsuit brought forth against twelve generic drug manufacturers, I was wondering what, if any, criminal liability the respective executives of those companies may face.

Does having a limited liability corporation protect members from all forms of criminal misconduct or are there exceptions? There's no doubt people died as a result of their criminal conspiracy to fix prices, and I would be shocked and saddened to learn it will just end in another multi-billion dollar settlement and fine. I can't picture this type of egregious corporate conduct ending until our laws concerning corporate liability are restructured.

1 Answer 1


If you commit a crime as the owner of a corporation you can still be indicted, but it would have to be shown you were responsible.

Even the corporation itself can be held liable by being charged in criminal court. A drug company has allready been charged this way. See the case of United States v. Automated Medical Laboratories, 770F.2d 399 (4th Cir. 1985). https://openjurist.org/770/f2d/399/united-states-v-automated-medical-laboratories-inc

The court normally looks to see if the employee's conduct was of benefit to the company in situations where a company is charged.

The companies you mention are just being sued as of now though.

  • 1
    Owners can’t be prosecuted- directors and executives can
    – Dale M
    May 18, 2019 at 23:54
  • That is not true. I know that you probably have read in a book that corporation laws stop that, but that is not true in all cases.
    – Putvi
    May 20, 2019 at 17:20
  • a passive owner with no role in the management of the company cannot be sued. An owner who runs the company can be sued as an officer even if never appointed a director
    – Dale M
    May 20, 2019 at 20:52
  • In most cases yes, but even a passive owner can endorse criminal behavior (at least here in IL). It's not a common occurrence, but has happened.
    – Putvi
    May 20, 2019 at 21:40

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