Are Fish Tangible Objects?

By: Louis Forristall

             On November 5, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Yates v. United States that focused on this seemingly absurd question, and the outcome could impact much more than fish. The statute at issue was passed as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The Act provides a ban on paper shredding, and was passed in response to Enron executives’ alleged destruction of documents to hide evidence. The Supreme Court’s decision in Yates could impact the handling of records, documents and any other object that could be potentially relevant to a federal investigation. Despite concerns from Court, the statute’s potentially broad applications are restrained by statutory and institutional limitations, and can also be significantly reduced with proactive steps from businesses.


            The appellant, John L. Yates, was a captain of Miss Katie, a shipping vessel operating off the coast of Florida.[1] On August 23, 2007, the Read the rest