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Duplan Corp. v. Moulinage et Retorderie de Chavanoz

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
509 F.2d 730 (1974)


Facts

Duplan Corporation and others (plaintiffs) sued Moulinage et Retorderie de Chavanoz (Chavanoz) and others (defendants) for violations of the Sherman Act regarding patents on false twist machines. A total of 37 ongoing cases were consolidated for trial in federal district court. The plaintiffs sought discovery of Chavanoz’s attorneys’ work product created during the course of previous litigation over the same patents with Leesona Corporation. In a previous appeal regarding factual materials in the attorneys’ work product, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that work product does not “become freely discoverable in subsequent and unrelated litigation” under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) Rule 23(b)(3) just because the litigation the work was created for has terminated. The matter was remanded, and the district court ordered Chavanoz to produce numerous documents for which it claimed work product exemption. Chavanoz moved the court to reconsider some of the materials containing attorneys’ “mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, and legal theories.” The district court determined that the plaintiffs had shown a “substantial need” for the material and “undue hardship” in securing the information elsewhere and ordered Chavanoz to produce them. Chavanoz appealed to the court of appeals.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Widener, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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