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ABC GREAT STATES, INC. v. GLOBE TICKET CO.

January 22, 1970

ABC Great States, Inc., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Globe Ticket Co., et al., Defendants.


Fullam, D.J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: FULLAM

FULLAM, D. J..

 This is a civil treble damages action alleging a price-fixing conspiracy in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. 15 U.S.C. § 1. Additional actions have been filed in various districts throughout the nation, and pursuant to the Multidistrict litigation statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1407, all the cases have been consolidated for discovery purposes in the Northern District of Illinois.

 These civil actions arise out of indictments returned in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Pleas of nolo contendere were accepted and sentence imposed in November of 1967. In connection with the sentencing, the Antitrust Division submitted two memoranda to the Probation Department and one to the Court. All three documents contain excerpts and summaries of testimony before the indicting grand jury.

 Plaintiff in the present case has served a notice of deposition on Donald G. Balthis, Esq., Chief of the Middle Atlantic Office of the Antitrust Division, and a subpoena duces tecum requiring Mr. Balthis to bring the three sentencing memoranda to the deposition. Presently before the Court are the motions of the government and Globe Ticket Co. to quash this subpoena. *fn1"

 The government's primary contention is that since the memoranda contain excerpts and summaries of grand jury testimony, disclosure is precluded by Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e).

 
"(e) Secrecy of Proceedings and Disclosure. Disclosure of matters occurring before the grand jury other than its deliberations and the vote of any juror may be made to the attorneys for the government for use in the performance of their duties. Otherwise a juror, attorney, interpreter, stenographer, operator of a recording device, or any typist who transcribes recorded testimony may disclose matters occurring before the grand jury only when so directed by the court preliminarily to or in connection with a judicial proceeding . . . ."

 However, it is clear that Rule 6(e) on its face does not operate as a complete bar to disclosure. Rather, disclosure is authorized upon court order.

 In United States v. Procter & Gamble, 356 U.S. 677, 2 L. Ed. 2d 1077, 78 S. Ct. 983 (1958), the Supreme Court articulated the controlling principle:

 
"The 'indispensable secrecy of grand jury proceedings' must not be broken except where there is a compelling necessity. There are instances when that need will outweigh the countervailing policy. But they must be shown with particularity." Id. at 682.

 The Court reversed a lower court's order directing disclosure of the entire grand jury testimony, holding that good cause was not shown by the defendants since the only purpose served by production of the documents would be to assist the defendants in preparing for trial.

 Plaintiff's contention that Dennis v. United States, 384 U.S. 855, 16 L. Ed. 2d 973, 86 S. Ct. 1840 (1966) undercut the Proctor & Gamble doctrine is unsound. There the trial court denied defense motions for in camera inspection by the court of the grand jury testimony of four of the government's trial witnesses to ascertain whether any inconsistencies were present. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the defendant had shown a "particularized need" for disclosure in that a long period of time had elapsed between the date of the alleged occurrences and the trial; the witnesses were essential to the government's case; the exact content of conversations was critical; the witnesses were adverse to the defendant; and one witness had admitted that his earlier testimony might have been mistaken. Even reading Dennis in a light favorable to the plaintiff, the most that can be said is that in the context of the administration of criminal justice, what constitutes "particularized need" for disclosure at trial is less than in other situations.

 The only showing of need in the present case is that disclosure will expedite discovery. This has been held to be insufficient to constitute a compelling and particularized need. United States v. Proctor & Gamble, supra ; City of Philadelphia v. Westinghouse Electric Corp., 210 F. Supp. 486 (E.D. Pa. 1962).

 The case of United States Industries v. United States District Court, 345 F.2d 18 (9th Cir. 1965), relied upon by plaintiff, is not apposite here, since the key factor of disclosure to the opposing side is not present in our case. The minimal disclosures which have occurred all related to the ...


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