US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
Harbor Healthcare System, LP v. United States
Opinion Date: July 26, 2021
Judge: Per Curiam
Areas of Law: Criminal Law
Harbor filed a pre-indictment motion under Rule 41(g) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, seeking return of documents seized by the United States in five searches of Harbor locations and offices. The district court had exercised discretionary jurisdiction for a time to oversee the implementation of protective process to screen Harbor's privileged information. However, the district court declined to exercise its equitable jurisdiction further and dismissed the case. After determining that it has jurisdiction to consider this appeal, the Fourth Circuit concluded that the district court erred in its assessment of the pre-indictment harm resulting from an allegedly unlawful seizure of privileged material. The court explained that the district court erred in its understanding of the four factors under Richey v. Smith, 515 F.2d at 1243–44, in determining whether to grant a pre-indictment motion for return of property and therefore abused its discretion by declining to further exercise its equitable jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's judgment and remanded for further proceedings.
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