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Amato v. United States

450 F.3d 46 (2006)

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Amato v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

450 F.3d 46 (2006)

Facts

In 1997 Dr. Stephen Amato (plaintiff) incorporated his chiropractor business in New York as Dr. Steven Amato, D.C., P.C. (Amato P.C.). Amato was the sole shareholder, director, officer, and employee of Amato P.C. In 2002 Amato incorporated a second company in Maine, which was dissolved by the state after a year for failure to file an annual report. Amato was the sole shareholder, director, officer, and employee of this corporation as well. In 2005 a search warrant was executed at Amato’s offices in relation to an investigation into federal healthcare crimes. As the custodian of records for both corporations, Amato was served with two administrative subpoenas that required him, as the records custodian of both corporations, to provide corporate records to the United States Attorney’s Office (defendant). Amato filed a motion to quash the subpoenas. Amato argued that even though the collective-entity doctrine may be relevant in this case, the testimonial and incriminating nature of the act of production overcame any collective-entity considerations. Because Amato was the sole shareholder, director, officer, and employee, he invoked his personal Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The magistrate court found that the collective-entity doctrine applied to records custodians because they act in their official capacity in responding to a subpoena of the corporation and declined to make an exception for Amato’s circumstances. The magistrate court denied the motion to quash, and Amato appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bowman, J.)

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