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Von Bulow by Auersperg v. Von Bulow

811 F.2d 136 (1987)

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Von Bulow by Auersperg v. Von Bulow

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

811 F.2d 136 (1987)

Facts

Martha von Bulow’s two children (plaintiffs) filed a federal civil case on Martha’s behalf against her husband Claus von Bulow (defendant), alleging Claus caused Martha to fall into a coma by secretly injecting her with drugs. Andrea Reynolds was a close companion of Claus who attended his criminal trial for the attempted murder of Martha. Reynolds was subpoenaed to testify in the civil case and produce certain documents, including a manuscript for a book she was writing about the von Bulow family, investigative reports she ordered about the von Bulow children, and notes she took during Claus’s criminal trial. Reynolds admitted that the manuscript was based wholly on information in the public domain, her memories, and the investigative reports. The manuscript was written under contract with a publisher. Reynolds admitted that the investigative reports were commissioned solely to vindicate Claus. Reynolds initially characterized the trial notes as merely doodles, later argued that the notes were to be used for a newspaper article, and then ultimately admitted that she continued to take notes after negotiations with the newspaper fell through. Reynolds claimed that the journalist’s privilege protected her against the forced production of the investigative reports, the trial notes, and the book manuscript. The district court found that all the material was discoverable and rejected Reynolds’ privilege claim. Reynolds appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Timbers, J.)

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