Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mount Sinai School of Medicine v. American Tobacco Co. case brief

Mount Sinai School of Medicine v. American Tobacco Co. case brief summary
880 F.2d 1520 (2d Cir. 1989)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellants, a medical school and a cancer society, sought review of an order from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York holding them in civil contempt for failing to comply with orders requiring them to respond to subpoenas served by appellees, three tobacco companies, requesting data for use in lawsuits to which appellants were not parties or witnesses.

CASE FACTS
Appellants, a medical school and a cancer society, challenged an order holding them in civil contempt for failing to comply with orders requiring them to respond to subpoenas served by appellees, three tobacco companies, requesting research data for use in lawsuits to which appellants were not parties or witnesses.

DISCUSSION

  • The court affirmed the order, finding that the lower court properly rejected the contention that the enforcement of the current subpoenas was precluded by an earlier decision quashing a broader subpoena. 
  • The court further found that neither the expert witness privilege nor the research scholar's privilege were applicable in the case. 
  • Finally, the court found that the protective order entered by the lower court, which allowed appellants to redact the names of the participants in their studies, their street addresses, towns, social security numbers, employers, and union registration numbers, was sufficient to protect the participants' identities.
CONCLUSION
The order holding appellants, a medical school and a cancer society, in civil contempt for failing to comply with orders requiring them to respond to subpoenas served by appellees, three tobacco companies, requesting data for use in lawsuits to which appellants were not parties or witnesses was affirmed. The court found that neither the expert witness privilege nor the research scholar's privilege were applicable in the case.

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