ACC filed an amicus brief on February 27, 2009, arguing a 9th Circuit panel opinion in U.S. v. SDI Future Health, Inc., et al. (No. 07-10261) decision could seriously impact the ability of in-house counsel to advise corporate owner-operators and officers on their rights in challenging government searches of corporate offices, and to assert those rights.
The 9th circuit decision filed on January 27 held that corporate executives could challenge workplace searches outside their offices only if they have a personal connection to the place searched or material seized. Additionally, under the ruling the government need not provide subjects of illegal searches with any details regarding the scope of the search or the criminal activity under investigation. Instead, a supporting affidavit, which contains all details of the scope of the search and investigation, can be kept under seal – not shown to the subjects of the search until years later, after an indictment is returned.
ACC maintains this makes it more likely that the “interests of companies and their executives will diverge” because it will be impossible for in-house counsel to advise executives or the company on possible Fourth Amendment rights violations or whether their interests with respect to those rights are aligned.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined ACC in this amicus brief.