United States v. Reynolds

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Reynolds
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: 21
DECIDED BY: Vinson Court (1949-1953)
LOWER COURT:

ARGUED: Oct 21, 1952
DECIDED: Mar 09, 1953

Facts of the case

An airplane carrying several military personnel and several civilians crashed while conducting tests of "secret electronic equipment." The widows of the three civilians killed sued and asked for full disclosure of the Air Force's accident investigation report. The report included information pertaining to the secret electronic equipment. The Air Force refused to provide the information, saying that to do so would threaten national security. Absent the report, the District Court and Court of Appeals viewed the question of negligence in the widow's favor and ruled for the plaintiffs.

Question

If the government invokes privilege to withhold information in civil proceedings, must the trial court view the point on which evidence is withheld in the plaintiff's favor?