Wednesday the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the argument made in an amicus brief filed by a coalition of businesses and criminal defense associations last year that urged the appellate court to reexamine the standard for when a corporation may be held liable for the acts of its employees, reports.

In the closely-watched case of United States v. Ionia Management, the defendant corporation and business defense groups were hoping to bring the first significant challenge to corporate criminal liability by challenging the idea of "respondeat superior" -- a legal doctrine in which corporations are held vicariously liable for crimes committed by employees acting within the scope of their employment and with the intent to benefit the company. The business defense team urged the court to adopt a heightened standard under which a corporation would be vicariously liable only for the acts of its "managerial" employees, and only where the company lacked effective compliance policies.

The case before the court involved a Greek company that manages a fleet of tanker vessels and was convicted and sentenced for its role in falsifying records to conceal the overboard dumping of waste oil from one of its vessels into international waters.