Carpenter v. Winn
| Carpenter v. Winn
United States Supreme Court
CARPENTER v. WINN
Argued: April 20, 21, 1911. --- Decided: May 29, 1911
In an action wherein David J. Winn was plaintiff and Joseph N. Carpenter and others defendants, the plaintiff, Winn, obtained an order from the court, requiring the defendants to produce certain books and papers said to contain evidence material to make out the plaintiff's case. The order required the defendants to produce 'all of their books, papers, writings, account books, day books, blotters, journals, registers, cash books, check books, contracts contract slips and memoranda, made or received by them, their agents, and employees, which contain any memoranda or any business transactions' relating to the plaintiff during the years 1905 and 1906, and particularly pertaining to a certain brokerage transaction in cotton. The order required such production before the trial, and that the plaintiff and his attorneys should be allowed, at the office of the defendants, within a time named, access to such books and papers, with leave to 'examine and investigate the same, and to make copies and extracts from such books, documents, and writings.' The order concluded thus: 'In the event the defendants fail to comply with this order, judgment against them shall be entered by default.'
The defendants, conceiving that the court had no authority to require the production of their business books and correspondence before the trial of the cause, for the investigation of the plaintiff, declined to obey the order. Thereupon judgment by default was entered and a jury impaneled to assess the plaintiff's damages, which being done, there was judgment for the plaintiff for the amount so assessed. This judgment was affirmed by the circuit court of appeals, and the case has come here upon a writ of certiorari.
Mr. John R. Abney for petitioners.
[Argument of Counsel from pages 535-537 intentionally omitted]
Messrs. John W. Booth by and Ernest E. Baldwin for respondent.
Statement by Mr. Justice Lurton:
Mr. Justice Lurton, after making the foregoing statement of the case, delivered the opinion of the court:
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