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United States v. Gulf Oil Corp.

760 F.2d 292 (1985)

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United States v. Gulf Oil Corp.

Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals

760 F.2d 292 (1985)

Facts

In 1980, Cities Service Oil & Gas Corporation (Cities) filed a declaratory-judgment action against the United States Department of Energy (DOE) (plaintiff). The suit related to certain Cities transactions. At the time, DOE did not make any findings regarding the transactions. In 1982, Gulf Oil Corporation (Gulf) (defendant) signed a merger agreement with Cities. Although the merger ultimately was not finalized, Gulf retained possession of Cities documents it had acquired during merger negotiations. Many of these documents related to the declaratory-judgment action. Included in these were documents that Cities had prepared at the request of its auditors, Arthur Young & Company (Young). The documents included Cities’ legal opinion about the declaratory-judgment action and the action’s potential financial impact on the company. Young requested these documents to enable it to file certain financial disclosures pursuant to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations. In 1983, the DOE initiated a formal investigation of the transactions that were the subject of the declaratory-judgment action. As part of this investigation, the DOE issued a subpoena to Gulf, seeking the documents that Cities had prepared for Young. The district court declined to enforce the subpoena, finding that the work-product doctrine applied. The DOE appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Garza, J.)

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