(CN) – A former executive who claims he was fired for refusing to participate in a sales conspiracy among the nation’s leading manufacturers of packaged ice isn’t entitled to restitution as a crime victim, the 6th Circuit ruled.
Martin McNulty began working for Arctic Glacier International when it bought out Party Time Ice in 2004.
McNulty said he was fired for refusing to participate in a price-fixing conspiracy. He went on to serve as a government informant in an antitrust investigation of Arctic Glacier.
In July 2008, McNulty filed a civil complaint against Arctic Glacier, two other packaged-ice producers and several executives over his firing, claiming he was blackballed from the industry and shut out from employment, causing him to lose his house and credit.
About a year later, Arctic Glacier admitted to having schemed with other ice-making companies to divvy up customers in southeastern Michigan and Detroit. The anticompetitive scheme, which occurred between 2001 and 2007, affected $50.7 million in sales, according to the company’s plea agreement.
McNulty asked the court to award him $6.3 million in restitution under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.
The Cincinnati-based appeals court upheld the denial of McNulty’s demand, saying he is not an “identifiable victim” of the alleged criminal conspiracy.
“The alleged harms against McNulty were the firing and blackballing; both of which may be illegal, but neither of which is criminal in nature nor directly related to the crime of conspiracy to commit antitrust violations,” Judge Martin Boyce wrote.
He said Arctic Glacier’s alleged firing and retaliation against McNulty “are not inherently criminal actions, nor are they actions inherent in the crime of conspiracy to violate antitrust laws to which Arctic Glacier pled. Civil, not criminal, remedies are available to redress these actions.”