A final judgment or decree heretofore or hereafter rendered in any civil or criminal proceeding brought by or on behalf of the United States under the antitrust laws to the effect that a defendant has violated said laws shall be prima facie evidence against such defendant in any action or proceeding brought by any other party against such defendant under said laws as to all matters respecting which said judgment or decree would be an estoppel as between the parties thereto: Provided, That this section shall not apply to consent judgments or decrees entered before any testimony has been taken. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to impose any limitation on the application of collateral estoppel, except that, in any action or proceeding brought under the antitrust laws, collateral estoppel effect shall not be given to any finding made by the Federal Trade Commission under the antitrust laws or under sectionof this title which could give rise to a claim for relief under the antitrust laws.
Any proposal for a consent judgment submitted by the United States for entry in any civil proceeding brought by or on behalf of the United States under the antitrust laws shall be filed with the district court before which such proceeding is pending and published by the United States in the Federal Register at least 60 days prior to the effective date of such judgment. Any written comments relating to such proposal and any responses by the United States thereto, shall also be filed with such district court and published by the United States in the Federal Register within such sixty-day period. Copies of such proposal and any other materials and documents which the United States considered determinative in formulating such proposal, shall also be made available to the public at the district court and in such other districts as the court may subsequently direct. Simultaneously with the filing of such proposal, unless otherwise instructed by the court, the United States shall file with the district court, publish in the Federal Register, and thereafter furnish to any person upon request, a competitive impact statement which shall recite-
The United States shall also cause to be published, commencing at least 60 days prior to the effective date of the judgment described in subsection (b) of this section, for 7 days over a period of 2 weeks in newspapers of general circulation of the district in which the case has been filed, in the District of Columbia, and in such other districts as the court may direct-
During the 60-day period as specified in subsection (b) of this section, and such additional time as the United States may request and the court may grant, the United States shall receive and consider any written comments relating to the proposal for the consent judgment submitted under subsection (b). The Attorney General or his designee shall establish procedures to carry out the provisions of this subsection, but such 60-day time period shall not be shortened except by order of the district court upon a showing that (1) extraordinary circumstances require such shortening and (2) such shortening is not adverse to the public interest. At the close of the period during which such comments may be received, the United States shall file with the district court and cause to be published in the Federal Register a response to such comments. Upon application by the United States, the district court may, for good cause (based on a finding that the expense of publication in the Federal Register exceeds the public interest benefits to be gained from such publication), authorize an alternative method of public dissemination of the public comments received and the response to those comments.
In making its determination under subsection (e), the court may-
Not later than 10 days following the date of the filing of any proposal for a consent judgment under subsection (b), each defendant shall file with the district court a description of any and all written or oral communications by or on behalf of such defendant, including any and all written or oral communications on behalf of such defendant by any officer, director, employee, or agent of such defendant, or other person, with any officer or employee of the United States concerning or relevant to such proposal, except that any such communications made by counsel of record alone with the Attorney General or the employees of the Department of Justice alone shall be excluded from the requirements of this subsection. Prior to the entry of any consent judgment pursuant to the antitrust laws, each defendant shall certify to the district court that the requirements of this subsection have been complied with and that such filing is a true and complete description of such communications known to the defendant or which the defendant reasonably should have known.
Proceedings before the district court under subsections (e) and (f) of this section, and the competitive impact statement filed under subsection (b) of this section, shall not be admissible against any defendant in any action or proceeding brought by any other party against such defendant under the antitrust laws or by the United States under sectionof this title nor constitute a basis for the introduction of the consent judgment as prima facie evidence against such defendant in any such action or proceeding.
Whenever any civil or criminal proceeding is instituted by the United States to prevent, restrain, or punish violations of any of the antitrust laws, but not including an action under sectionof this title, the running of the statute of limitations in respect to every private or State right of action arising under said laws and based in whole or in part on any matter complained of in said proceeding shall be suspended during the pendency thereof and for one year thereafter: Provided, however, That whenever the running of the statute of limitations in respect of a cause of action arising under section or of this title is suspended hereunder, any action to enforce such cause of action shall be forever barred unless commenced either within the period of suspension or within four years after the cause of action accrued.
15 U.S.C. § 16
REFERENCES IN TEXTThe antitrust laws, referred to in subsecs. (a), (b), and (g) to (i), are defined in sectionof this title.
AMENDMENTS2004-Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 108-237, §221(b)(1), inserted at end "Upon application by the United States, the district court may, for good cause (based on a finding that the expense of publication in the Federal Register exceeds the public interest benefits to be gained from such publication), authorize an alternative method of public dissemination of the public comments received and the response to those comments." Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 108-237, §221(b)(2), designated introductory provisions as par. (1), substituted "court shall" for "court may", added subpars. (A) and (B) and par. (2), and struck out former pars. (1) and (2) which read as follows: "(1) the competitive impact of such judgment, including termination of alleged violations, provisions for enforcement and modification, duration or relief sought, anticipated effects of alternative remedies actually considered, and any other considerations bearing upon the adequacy of such judgment; "(2) the impact of entry of such judgment upon the public generally and individuals alleging specific injury from the violations set forth in the complaint including consideration of the public benefit, if any, to be derived from a determination of the issues at trial."Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 108-237, §221(b)(3), inserted "by any officer, director, employee, or agent of such defendant" before ", or other person" in first sentence.1980-Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 96-349 made collateral estoppel inapplicable in any action or proceeding brought under the antitrust laws to any finding made by the Commission under the antitrust laws or under sectionof this title which could give rise to a claim for relief under the antitrust laws; struck out "or by the United States under section of this title," after "under said laws"; and deleted from proviso "or to judgments or decrees entered in actions under section of this title" after "testimony has been taken". 1976- Pub. L. 94-435 substituted "private or State right of action" for "private right of action" and "section 15 or 15c" for "section 15". 1974-Subsecs. (b) to (i). Pub. L. 93-528 added subsecs. (b) to (h) and redesignated former subsec. (b) as (i). 1955-Act July 7, 1955, substituted subsec. (a) for first paragraph, to provide that final judgments in actions under the antitrust laws by the United States shall be prima facie evidence in damage suits by the United States as well as in private damage suits, and substituted subsec. (b) for second paragraph, to provide for a one-year suspension of limitations.
EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1980 AMENDMENT Pub. L. 96-349, §5(b), Sept. 12, 1980, 94 Stat. 1157, provided that: "The amendments made by this section [amending this section] shall apply only with respect to actions commenced after the date of the enactment of this Act [Sept. 12, 1980]."
SUSPENSION OF LIMITATIONAct Oct. 10, 1942, ch. 589, 56 Stat. 781, as amended June 30, 1945, ch. 213, 59 Stat. 306, provided for the suspension of any existing statutes of limitations relating to violations of antitrust laws now indictable or subject to civil proceedings under any existing statutes, until June 30, 1946.
FINDINGS AND PURPOSES OF 2004 AMENDMENT Pub. L. 108-237, title II, §221(a), June 22, 2004, 118 Stat. 668, provided that:"(1) FINDINGS.-Congress finds that- "(A) the purpose of the Tunney Act [probably means section 2 of Pub. L. 93-528 which amended this section] was to ensure that the entry of antitrust consent judgments is in the public interest; and "(B) it would misconstrue the meaning and Congressional intent in enacting the Tunney Act to limit the discretion of district courts to review antitrust consent judgments solely to determining whether entry of those consent judgments would make a 'mockery of the judicial function'."(2) PURPOSES.-The purpose of this section [amending this section] is to effectuate the original Congressional intent in enacting the Tunney Act and to ensure that United States settlements of civil antitrust suits are in the public interest."