Upjohn Upheld: D.C. Circuit Re-Affirms Privilege Protections for Multi-Purpose Internal Investigations

In one of the most important decisions of the year for corporate legal departments, on June 27, the D.C. Circuit held that a company’s internal investigation documents were protected by the attorney-client privilege where “one of the significant purposes” of the investigation was “to obtain or provide legal advice.”1 The issue was before the D.C. Circuit on Kellogg Brown & Root’s (“KBR”) petition for a writ of mandamus seeking review of a surprising decision in which the District Court had ordered KBR to produce final reports documenting its prior internal investigations. While corporate legal departments breathe a collective sigh of relief, this case underscores the need to structure internal investigations thoughtfully in order to maximize attorney-client privilege protection.


In 2005, Harry Barko, who worked for KBR, filed a whistleblower complaint under seal pursuant to the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The complaint alleged that KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, defrauded the federal government by inflating costs and accepting kickbacks while performing reconstruction contracts in Iraq. The complaint remained under seal until 2009.

Please see full alert below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Morrison & Foerster LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Morrison & Foerster LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.