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BOSTON —� The Chief Judge in the District of Massachusetts recently unsealed an order barring the U.S. Attorney’s office from sharing information obtained by a grand jury about a particular company with the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil division. The U.S. Attorney’s office wanted to release business records and computer information of a company named in sealed qui tam or False Claims Act cases filed in 2003 and 2006. The government argued that the records “should not be deemed grand jury material for all purposes” because they pre-dated the grand jury subpoena. In Re: Grand Jury Matter, No. 08-mc-10007 (D. Mass.) In a recent ruling, Judge Mark L. Wolf wrote that two U.S. Supreme Court decisions not cited by the government reject its claim that a court order isn’t needed in order to disclose documents obtained by a grand jury subpoena to lawyers involved in a civil investigation. Wolf also noted that the cases outline requirements that must be met to justify such disclosures “which the government did not even attempt to meet in this case.” United States v. Sells Engineering, Inc., 463 U.S. 418 (1983); United States v. John Doe, Inc. I, 481 U.S. 102 (1987). Wolf denied the government’s request orally without prejudice and issued a memo as instruction for this case and future ones. “This Memorandum and Order is being issued for the public record in order to provide notice of what this court understands to be the requirements for disclosure of documents obtained by a grand jury to civil lawyers and to reduce the risk that courts in other ex parte proceedings will not be informed by the government of the relevant case law,” Wolf wrote. In his ruling, Wolf also noted that the government can submit an affidavit that makes the “strong showing of particularized need” required by the Supreme Court decisions. He also said that any future petition and affidavit must address several issues: whether the grand jury investigation of the company is still continuing; whether the grand jury investigation was “undertaken in good faith, and not as a pretext to collect information for use in a civil investigation”; which civil division attorneys will receive the information; and whether private parties, including the private plaintiffs in the qui tam actions will have access to information; and whether the government wants to disclose all the materials given to the grand jury or just some of them. Wolf also wrote the court would determine whether the company should have an opportunity to be heard about the government’s disclosure request or if the government could proceed ex parte. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the District of Massachusetts said the office is reviewing the order “to determine the range of options available to the government.”

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