William Jones (defendant) was charged with illegally tapping telephone calls. The prosecution (plaintiff) was required to prove that the tapped telephone was provided by a common carrier. At trial, the prosecution introduced evidence that the tapped telephone was provided by South Central Bell Telephone Company (Bell). The prosecution did not provide any evidence that Bell was a common carrier, nor did the prosecution request that the district court take judicial notice of Bell’s status as a common carrier. Jones was convicted. Jones filed a motion for a new trial on the ground that the prosecution had failed to make a prima facie showing that Bell was a common carrier. The district court granted the motion. The prosecution appealed, arguing that the court of appeals should take judicial notice of Bell’s status as a common carrier pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence (FRE) 201(f) [now 201(d)], which permitted judicial notice to be taken at any stage of the proceeding.