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ALEXANDER v. UNITED STATES. WHITING V. SAME. STUART V. SAME. GENERAL PAPER COMPANY V. SAME. HARMON AND GENERAL PAPER COMPANY V. SAME

March 12, 1906

ALEXANDER
v.
UNITED STATES.

WHITING
v.
SAME.

STUART
v.
SAME.

GENERAL PAPER COMPANY
v.
SAME.

HARMON AND GENERAL PAPER COMPANY
v.
SAME



APPEALS FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN

Fuller, Harlan, Brewer, Brown, White, Peckham, McKenna, Holmes, Day

Author: Mckenna

[ 201 U.S. Page 118]

 MR. JUSTICE MCKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.

At the very beginning we encounter a question of jurisdiction. Are the orders of which the appellants complain appealable? The orders direct the appellants respectively to appear before Robert F. Taylor, special examiner in the case, at the time and place to be designated, and directs each of them to "answer each and every question put to them respectively by the counsel for the complainant, the United States of America," and to produce before such commissioner certain books, papers, records, documents, reports and contracts, "for the purpose of their respective examination in said cause, and for use in evidence of the complaint of the United States of America in said examination." And it is ordered that the complainant's counsel shall have the right to inspect the said books, etc., and to introduce them or any of them in evidence; but, except as necessary for such purposes, the books, etc., to remain in the custody of the appellants.

A brief statement of the proceedings is all that is necessary. The United States by its proper officers brought suit in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Minnesota against the General Paper Company and twenty-three other corporations, defendants, under and pursuant to the provisions of the act of Congress of July 2, 1890, entitled "An act to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies." It is alleged in the bill that the defendants, other than the General Paper Company and the Manufacturers' Paper Company, were engaged in the manufacture of manilla and fibre papers in active competition with one another, and that they entered into an agreement, combination and conspiracy to control, regulate and monopolize, not only the manufacture of news print, manilla, fibre and other papers, but also the distribution and shipment thereof among and throughout the Middle, Southern and Western States. The General Paper Company was the means employed to execute the combination and conspiracy. That company is a corporation organized, the bill alleges, by

[ 201 U.S. Page 119]

     the other defendants, under the laws of the State of Wisconsin, with a capital stock of $100,000, divided into one thousand shares, which were distributed among and owned and held by the other defendants, in proportions based upon the average daily output of the mills of each defendant. It is authorized to become at its principal place of business the sales agent of the products of the defendants' mills in the State of Wisconsin and elsewhere. Absolute power is conferred upon it to control and restrict the output of the mills, fix the price of their products, and determine to whom and the terms and conditions upon which such products shall be sold, into what States and places they shall be shipped, and what publishers and customers each mill shall supply.

The Manufacturers' Paper Company, it is alleged, is a New York corporation, with its principal place of business in Chicago, and from about the year 1897 to 1902, acted as the sales agent of various manufacturers of paper for the sale of newsprint and other papers; that in 1902 it became a party to the combination and conspiracy alleged in the bill and agreed with the General Paper Company not to compete with it in certain territories.

It is admitted that, prior to the formation of the General Paper Company, the other defendants except the Manufacturers' Paper Company, were in active competition. The formation of the General Paper Company is also admitted and that it became, by contract with the defendants who manufacture paper, their selling agent. The defendants deny, however, a purpose to violate the act of July 2, 1890. The violation of that law is the issue in the case, and the bill prays an injunction against the defendants and their officers from doing the acts or executing the purpose charged against them.

In trial of the issue thus made the Circuit Court appointed Robert S. Taylor special examiner, with authority to hear and take testimony within and without the District of Minnesota, and made an order fixing the time to take the testimony for the United States the sixteenth day May, 1905, at the city of Milwaukee,

[ 201 U.S. Page 120]

     State of Wisconsin. The order was duly served on the counsel of the respective parties. Thereupon the United States petitioned the Circuit Court for an order directing the clerk of the Circuit Court to issue a subpoena duces tecum. The subpoena was duly issued and served on the appellants as individuals and as officers of certain of the defendant companies. They appeared before the examiner in obedience to the subpoena, but, under the advice of counsel, they refused to permit the use of books or certain parts of them, and refused to answer certain questions put to them, the ground of this action being the immateriality and irrelevancy of the evidence sought to be adduced. The United States then presented a petition to the United States Circuit Court for the District of Wisconsin, which recited the issues in the case and the statement of the questions asked and the parts of the books and documents sought to be used. To this petition the appellants filed separate answers.

The answers may be regarded for our present purpose as identical. They allege the immateriality of the evidence and that its materiality should be established as a condition precedent to its production; that they are officers of the companies, and as such officers, the custodians of the books, papers and documents, and that the same are of interest and value to the company in its business, and the company forbids their production; that the United States seeks evidence to convict the company and the individual appellants of violations of the act of July 2, 1890, to annul the contracts and agreements of the company, and subject it and the other appellants to the penalties prescribed in that act, and to compel the company and the other appellants to furnish evidence against themselves, contrary to the provisions of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which provides that no person shall be a witness against himself; also contrary to the Fourth Amendment of ...


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