Broadcom Ruling Highlights Potential Pitfalls in Internal Investigation


On April 1, 2009, a federal judge suppressed evidence obtained during interviews of Broadcom Corporation’s then CFO, William J. Ruehle, by an outside law firm that was conducting an internal investigation on behalf of Broadcom while simultaneously representing Ruehle in related litigation. United States v. Nicholas, slip op., No. SACR 08-00139-CJC (C.D. Cal. Apr. 1, 2009). The court concluded that the law firm had breached its duty of loyalty to Ruehle by disclosing attorney-client privileged information to prosecutors without his consent and referred the firm to the California State Bar for potential disciplinary proceedings.

Although the ruling arose from a criminal case, it addresses important legal representation issues common to most internal investigations. Companies that fail to avoid the pitfalls surrounding those issues risk losing a key benefit of conducting internal investigations. Thus, anyone undertaking an internal investigation must be crystal clear about the relationship between counsel conducting the investigation and any witness who provides information during the investigation.

Please see full update 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.