Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,300+ case briefs...

United States v. Kordel

United States Supreme Court
397 U.S. 1 (1970)


The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requested the government (plaintiff) file a lawsuit in federal district court to seize two products manufactured by Detroit Vital Foods, Inc., on the ground that the sale of the products violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (Act). The government filed interrogatories that the corporation was required to answer under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Ten days later, the government notified Vital Foods that it was the subject of a contemplated criminal proceeding. Vital Foods sought to stay the civil action or extend the time to answer the interrogatories until after the disposition of the criminal proceeding. In moving for the stay, the plaintiffs did not assert their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The court denied the motion upon finding that the corporation had failed to demonstrate that it would suffer substantial prejudice and harm if required to respond to the interrogatories. The President and Vice President of Vital Foods (defendants) were convicted, along with the company, of violating the Act. The federal court of appeals reversed their convictions on the ground that the government improperly used interrogatories to obtain evidence from the defendants in a nearly contemporaneous civil condemnation proceeding. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider questions regarding the government’s invocation of simultaneous civil and criminal proceedings in the enforcement of federal law.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 371,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,300 briefs, keyed to 223 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial