United States v. Procter & Gamble Co. - 356 U.S. 677 (1958)


U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Procter & Gamble Co., 356 U.S. 677 (1958)

United States v. Procter & Gamble Co.

No. 51

Argued April 28, 1958

Decided June 2, 1958

356 U.S. 677

Syllabus

Following a federal grand jury investigation of possible criminal violations of the Sherman Act, in which no indictment was returned, the Government brought a civil suit under § 4 of the Act to enjoin alleged violations of §§ 1 and 2 by appellees. The Government was using the grand jury transcript to prepare the civil case for trial, and appellees moved for discovery and production of the transcript, in order that they might have the same privilege. The District Court ruled that appellees had shown "good cause," as required by Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and granted the motion. Being unwilling to produce the transcript, the Government moved that the order be amended to provide that, if production of the transcript were not made, the Court would dismiss the complaint. The order was so amended; the Government persisted in its refusal to produce the transcript; and the District Court dismissed the complaint. The Government appealed to this Court.

Held:

1. The rule that a plaintiff who has voluntarily dismissed his complaint may not appeal from the order of dismissal has no application here, since the Government's motion to amend the original order was designed only to expedite review of that order. Pp. 356 U. S. 680-681.

2. Appellees failed to show "good cause," as required by Rule 34, for the wholesale discovery and production of a transcript of the grand jury's proceedings, which, pursuant to a long established policy, must normally be kept secret, when they did not show that the criminal procedure had been subverted to elicit evidence in a civil case. Pp. 356 U. S. 681-684.

Reversed.

Page 356 U. S. 678



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