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Medical Laboratory Management Consultants v. American Broadcasting Companies
United States District Court for the District of Arizona
30 F. Supp. 2d 1182 (1998)
American Broadcasting Companies (ABC) (defendant) aired an episode of Prime Time Live that investigated errors in laboratory Pap smear testing. ABC employees and its counsel planned the investigation in an attempt to keep it within the bounds of the law. ABC employee Robby Gordon contacted John Deveraj, who owned a testing facility, Medical Laboratory Management Consultants (Med Lab) (defendant) with his wife. Gordon pretended to be a scientist interested in opening a Pap smear lab and asked to visit Med Lab. Deveraj agreed because he thought Gordon could provide additional business for his company. Gordon was accompanied on the visit by Jeff Cooke, an undercover cameraman who had a camera hidden in his wig. Deveraj met with them in a conference room and discussed his business, the industry in general, and his efforts to set his business apart from competitors by providing results more quickly. Deveraj showed Gordon and Cooke around the laboratory and continued their discussions. Deveraj never requested that the information he shared with Gordon and Cooke be kept private or confidential. ABC also sent Pap smear samples from a nonexistent clinic to Med Lab for the program. The aired episode included interview footage with Deveraj and reported that Med Lab did not identify cervical cancer in several slides sent from the fake clinic. Although Deveraj was not named, his face was shown on the broadcast. Deveraj and Med Lab sued ABC. Med Lab filed a motion to compel the production of documents from ABC that fell under the attorney-client privilege on the grounds that the crime-fraud exception applied.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Silver, J.)
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