United States v. Sells Engineering, Inc.

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Sells Engineering, Inc.
LOCATION: Long's Vehicle

DOCKET NO.: 81-1032
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 463 US 418 (1983)
ARGUED: Mar 02, 1983
DECIDED: Jun 30, 1983

ADVOCATES:
Arlington Ray Robbins - on behalf of the Respondent
Douglas N. Letter - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for United States v. Sells Engineering, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 02, 1983 in United States v. Sells Engineering, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 30, 1983 in United States v. Sells Engineering, Inc.

Warren E. Burger:

Justice Brennan has the announcement of the judgments and opinions in two cases.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

The first case is United States versus Sells Engineering.

It's here on certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

It presents a single question.

It is, under what conditions attorneys for the Civil Division of the Justice Department and their paralegal and secretarial staff may obtain access to grand jury materials compiled under direction of other Justice Department attorneys compiled -- and whether they can obtain access to such for the purpose of preparing in pursuing a civil suit.

On an opinion filed today with the clerk, we hold that attorneys in the Civil Division of the Justice Department and their assistants and staff may not obtain automatic disclosure of grand jury materials for use in a civil suit, but must instead seek court order under Rule 6(e)(3)(C)(i) for access to such materials.

The Chief Justice joined by Justices Powell, Rehnquist, and O'Connor has filed a dissenting opinion.