Stolt-Nielsen announced that the Supreme Court of the United States has denied a Renewed Application originally submitted to Justice John Paul Stevens that would have kept in place an injunction by a federal district court preventing the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division from bringing charges against the company.
The injunction was issued in January 2005 by the federal district court in Philadelphia and precluded criminal prosecution of the Company or its executives based on the validity of the amnesty agreement Stolt-Nielsen signed with the Antitrust Division in January 2003. In March 2006, a two-judge panel of the Third Circuit appeals court reversed
the injunction on narrow separation of powers grounds, holding that district courts do not have the authority to enjoin the Division prior to an indictment.
Stolt-Nielsen remains confident that any forthcoming action against the company will be dismissed because of the binding terms of the amnesty agreement.
The company took measures of seeking the stay from Justice Stevens in his role as Circuit Justice for the Seventh Circuit because of the split between the Seventh Circuit and the Third Circuit on the underlying constitutional issues at stake in this matter.
The federal district court made 89 findings of fact,including that Stolt-Nielsen had performed its side of the bargain. The district court remains the only court to have considered this case on its merits.
The Third Circuit did not disagree with the district court's factual findings, including its conclusion that prosecution by the Antitrust Division would breach the Amnesty Agreement. The Third Circuit furtherheld that the appropriate procedure for Stolt-Nielsen, following any charges, would be to file a pretrial motion to dismiss the indictmentbased on the amnesty agreement defenses. The Third Circuit emphasized that Stolt-Nielsen could file such a motion immediately after charges were brought.