Skip to main content

Law Professor and Former DOJ Lawyer Comments on High-Profile Cases

Image Thomas Horton Thomas Horton

VERMILLION, S.D. -- A University of South Dakota law professor has been quoted recently in national articles about bank fraud, risks involved in defense company mergers and the proposed merger of oil companies Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc.

Thomas Horton, a former lead trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, is a professor and Heidepriem Trial Advocacy Fellow at the USD School of Law.

He offered analysis on litigation filed against the the DOJ over its attempt to block the oil merger that was published for the policy and regulatory report in Global Intelligence in Antitrust/Competition Law and also the Connecticut Financial News. The reports said the case could progress more quickly and provide an advantage to the companies if it were moved to Houston. Horton said it still would be subject to antitrust review by European Union regulators, so hopes for an expedited process might have been misplaced, he said.

Horton also was quoted in a separate story in Bloomberg about the possibility of federal prosecutors going after wrongdoers in the banking industry and not just the institutions. "There’s tremendous pressure on the Justice Department to go beyond the big fines of the past and charge individuals, given public anger directed toward bankers," Horton told the financial news site. "They’re likely taking a lot of time because this is a complicated case and they need to get it right -- but the clock is ticking."

Finally, Horton tapped his experience as a former DOJ trial lawyer who was active in defense merger cases for an article in the FTC Watch (Issue no. 894). He said “divestitures from defense mergers can pose security risks if the spun-off divisions are made available for purchase by foreign companies, especially if the implications of these sales are not immediately apparent.”

Horton’s areas of expertise include antitrust, consumer protection, trial advocacy and techniques, and history and law.


USD’s Knudson School of Law prepares students for leadership in the administration of justice in South Dakota, including in rural areas where the demand is great, and for private practice, public service, business and other law-related endeavors anywhere. Its joint degree program allows students to also earn one of nine master’s degrees within the traditional three-year law curriculum, which includes course tracks in business, commercial, constitutional, criminal, employment, environmental, Indian, real estate and tax law as well as civil litigation and estate planning.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News