Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status

Zerilli v. Smith

656 F.2d 705 (1981)

Case BriefRelatedOptions
From our private database of 33,600+ case briefs...

Zerilli v. Smith

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

656 F.2d 705 (1981)

Facts

Anthony Zerilli and Michael Polizzi (plaintiffs) came under criminal investigation by the federal government. During the investigation, wiretaps recorded Zerilli and Polizzi discussing illegal conduct. The district court found that the wiretaps violated the Fourth Amendment and ordered the wiretap logs to be sealed. Seth Kantor and other writers at the Detroit News authored a series of articles reporting on organized crime in Detroit. The articles included information from the wiretap transcripts and referred to the wiretap logs. Zerilli and Polizzi filed a civil claim in federal court under the Privacy Act against the attorney general of the United States, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) (defendants), alleging that DOJ employees leaked the wiretap transcripts to the Detroit News. An assistant attorney General investigated DOJ’s potential responsibility for the leak. Zerilli and Polizzi served interrogatories on the government, seeking the results of the DOJ investigation. The government responded that the DOJ was not involved and conveyed the names of four DOJ employees who were most familiar with the wiretap logs. During the criminal trial, Zerilli and Polizzi were given the names of all government officials who had access to the logs. Zerilli and Polizzi claimed to accept the DOJ’s findings and did not subpoena any of the people whose names the DOJ provided. Zerilli and Polizzi instead deposed Kantor, who refused to disclose his source of the wiretaps logs and claimed a qualified reporter’s privilege under the First Amendment. Zerilli and Polizzi filed a motion to compel discovery, asking that the court mandate Kantor to disclose the source. The district court denied the motion to compel. Zerilli and Polizzi appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wright, 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 602,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead 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.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 602,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 33,600 briefs, keyed to 984 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.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 602,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 33,600 briefs - keyed to 984 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership