Dale F. Gilbert et al. v. Allied Chemical

No description
Final judgment
United States, Richmond, Virginie

Dale F. Gilbert
No description

Civil court
Kepone, Chlordecone, Insecticid
Déclarer invalide la demande en production de document et témoignage relativement à la diffusion d’informations sur les lacunes dans le processus de production du Kepone.
United States District Court, E. D. of Richmond, Virginie, United States

April 6, 1976
It is judged and ordered that Nationwide Communications, Inc.'s motion to quash the summons to testify and produce documents be, and hereby is, granted in part and denied in part.It is further ordered that with respect to the records and documents that may be disclosed, only Allied's counsel will be permitted to inspect the documents and/or question Nationwide's representatives about the documents

On April 6, 1976, the U.S. District Court for the District of Richmond handed down a decision protecting those who had provided the press with information about the dangers of exposure to Kepone, a chlordecone-based product, and the deficiencies in its production process. This decision was made in the context of a dispute concerning the damage to human health caused by exposure to Kepone.

Allied Chemical, a Virginia-based producer of Kepone, had asked Nationwide, the television and radio broadcaster that had exposed the dangers of Kepone, to produce all documents relating to Kepone that had been broadcast or used in the broadcast process, and to identify the confidential sources of this information.

Nationwide contested this request, arguing that the information sought was privileged, that the request was unreasonable, oppressive and irrelevant to the case at hand, and that it seeks irrelevant information beyond the authorized scope of discovery.

Nationwide, however, subsequently agreed to produce all documents and other informational materials relating to Kepone actually disseminated or otherwise made available to the public, but continued to refuse to disclose or testify about undisseminated information, arguing that such information is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As a reminder, the First Amendment prohibits the U.S. Congress from passing laws limiting freedom of religion and speech, freedom of the press or the right to peaceable assembly. In particular, Nationwide and the staff covered by the request for production of documents and testimony refuse to reveal the identity of the sources who helped uncover flaws in the Kepone manufacturing process.

As far as the sources were concerned, the Court agreed with Nationwide and declared that the information relating to the identity of the sources was protected by the First Constitutional Amendment and was therefore confidential. On the other hand, with regard to non-confidential information, such as the documentation used in the dissemination process, the Court ruled that this information was not protected and had to be disclosed by Nationwide.