Holmes’ Verdict and the Legal Process of ‘Disruption’


The prosecution of a company executive such as Holmes who is guilty of murder has serious consequences, especially the need to prove its intentions, says Jacob T. Elberg, an associate professor of law at Seton Hall who was accused of corruption in the United States. Department of Justice. “The most important thing in our criminal system is knowledge and purpose and not just results,” he says, and the problem often brings challenges for critics to respond to corporate executives.

It was understandable that prosecutors should focus more on financial fraud in the Holmes case, Elberg said, not on patients who were misled, because “there were clear lies, black and white, which is what the system wants.” This is a challenge for those who see the case as an opportunity to finally answer the plaintiff for the misuse of public trust.

When the verdict was handed down, Alex Gibney, Elizabeth Holmes’ chief of staff, The Inventor, says he was shocked, and offended by the message he sent. “In the making of the film, the bright red line was immoral,” he tells me over the phone. He states: “They were putting patients at risk. “I would not have liked to have told the story if it had been just for the benefit of the elite — he crossed the line.”

The case did not follow a similar procedure. It would be naive to think that court is talking about morals, or human rights. Indeed, there are many lawyers — whether senior and district attorneys or professional practitioners — who are seriously considering how to file a lawsuit to punish opioid producers, oil companies, tobacco companies, and gun manufacturers for the harm they have done. initiated. But they prefer to apply the law of nature, without the same requirements as the law of terrorism.

With professional companies, the task of blaming them for the damage they cause is extremely difficult. In the beginning, these companies are often popular with the public and oppose criminal cases by looking away, in a fun place that leads us. They also benefit from being seen as inactive — they do not dig wells, they tell us, they just leave the anti-vax people to spit. The source of their errors may be a secret algorithm that seems to work on its own. It’s a great way, technically connected from the decisions that are made on their platforms. This could explain the lack of support that most of us experience when it comes to the growing power of professional companies – it seems persecuted all around us, but no crime or terrorism is associated with the suffering.

To change this – in order to better protect people as we protect investors – we need to reconsider how we expect organizations and their agents to operate. We need to develop the capacity of government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration to investigate in depth what may expose the malicious intent of government officials. In addition, we can shift the scale from the crime target to these cases to something easier to prove, such as caution, which Senator Elizabeth Warren presented the idea in 2019 as part of the Corporate Executive Accountability Act.

The purpose of this change may not be to fill prisons with corporate executives such as Holmes, but to inform them: When you think about how to treat people, treat them with the same respect for law as you would for treating people. requesting a large check from depositors.


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