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United States v. Wallace & Tiernan Co., 336 U.S. 793 (1949)

United States v. Wallace & Tiernan Co.

No. 416

Argued March 29, 1949

Decided May 2, 1949

336 U.S. 793


In a grand jury proceeding which resulted in the indictment of appellees for violations of the Sherman Act, they were required to produce certain documents pursuant to a subpoena obtained and served in a proper manner, and the District Court ruled that it was not so broad and sweeping as to constitute an unreasonable search and seizure. Later, the indictment was dismissed, and the subpoenaed documents and photostatic copies thereof were ordered returned to appellees, solely because women were excluded from the grand jury. In a civil proceeding charging appellees with violations of the Sherman Act, the District Court denied a motion and quashed a subpoena to require production of the same documents, solely because of the actions taken in the criminal proceeding. In a trial in the civil proceeding, the Government introduced such evidence as it had, indicated that this was insufficient because of the exclusion of the subpoenaed documents, but requested the court to enter judgment for the Government. The trial court dismissed the suit without prejudice.


1. Dismissal of the indictment because no women were on the grand jury was no sufficient reason for holding that the Government was barred from making use of the subpoenaed documents in a future valid proceeding. Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U. S. 385, distinguished. Pp. 336 U. S. 795-800.

2. Failure of the Government to appeal from the orders in the criminal proceeding dismissing the indictment and requiring the return of the documents and photostatic copies thereof did not bar the Government by the doctrine of res judicata from having the documents produced in the civil proceeding. Pp. 336 U. S. 800-801.

3. Another order of the District Court

"precluding and restraining the United States from using in any way or for any purpose any knowledge, information or evidence obtained from or contained in"

any of the subpoenaed documents was intended to apply only to the criminal proceeding, and did not bar their use in the civil proceeding. Pp. 801-803.

Page 336 U. S. 794

4. That the dismissal of the civil proceeding was without prejudice to filing another suit did not make the cause unappealable, for denial of relief and dismissal of the case. ended this suit so far as the District Court was concerned. Pp. 794-795, n 1.


In a civil proceeding charging violations of the Sherman Act, the District Court declined to require the production of certain books and documents previously produced before a grand jury in a criminal proceeding and ordered returned because the grand jury was improperly constituted. It dismissed the civil proceeding without prejudice. On appeal to this Court, reversed, p. 336 U. S. 803.

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