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In re Auction Houses Antitrust Litigation

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)


A class action lawsuit was filed against certain auction houses alleging price fixing. During discovery, Christie’s (defendant), a British company, produced handwritten notes from the files of its former CEO, Christopher Davidge (Davidge Documents). Alfred Taubman, former chairman of Sotheby’s (defendant), served interrogatories on Christie’s, seeking details about the Davidge Documents, including the authors, the meaning of certain abbreviations, and who or what certain pronouns referred to. Christie’s objected to providing such information, claiming that the information was not in its control and that Davidge no longer worked there. Christie’s stated that it had asked Davidge to provide the information, but that he refused to do so. However, upon leaving Christie’s, Davidge had signed an agreement under which he was to provide all information within his knowledge that Christie’s may need from time to time. Also under the agreement, Davidge was to be paid 5 million pounds and 2 million of that had yet to be paid. Christie’s did not threaten to withhold this payment from Davidge when he refused to provide the requested information. Taubman filed a motion for a court order compelling more information about the Davidge Documents.

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