Attorney-Client Privilege Internal Investigations

News & Analysis as of

Internal Investigations: Do No Harm

Internal investigations are an ever-present challenge for companies. They can involve virtually any topic and arise in myriad ways.  Embezzlement, accounting improprieties, bribery, and financial statement adjustments can all...more

Court Condemns Law Firm's Privilege Claim as "Subterfuge": Part I

Some companies begin internal investigations or audits for business reasons, but later try to cloak related communications and documents with work product privilege protection. ...more

Carefully Draft NDAs to Avoid Whistleblower Concerns

In light of the SEC’s first enforcement action against a company for impeding whistleblower activity in violation of Rule 21F-17, employers may wish to consider clarifying in their agreements, policies and practices that...more

Letter From America: Internal investigations – a stark reminder of the dangers of failing to implement strict protocols from the...

A recent ruling in long-running civil litigation against the Bank of China (“BOC”) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York provides a stark reminder of the dangers of failing to develop and...more

District court limits application of privilege in internal investigations

The Southern District of New York offered a strong rebuke to defendant Bank of China (BOC) in a discovery dispute, finding that documents created as part of an internal investigation into potential terrorist activities of a...more

Implied Waiver of Privilege in Internal Investigations: Barko Court Compels Production of Internal Investigation Documents, Again

On November 20, 2014, the District Court for the District of Columbia once again ordered Kellogg, Brown and Root (“KBR”) to produce all documents prepared as part of an internal investigation.  The District Court’s decision...more

How to Protect Attorney-client Privilege in Internal Investigations

While attorney-client privilege can protect many internal documents, recent court decisions highlight the need to explicitly invoke this protection. As many US policies now require an increased level of internal...more

D.C. Circuit Court Expands Privilege in Internal Corporate Investigations

There are numerous federal regulations requiring investigations into possible fraud, related to both mandatory disclosure and simply performing some fact gathering while seeking legal advice. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the...more

What Does Delaware’s Wal-Mart Decision Mean for Attorney-Client Privilege and Internal Investigations?

The Delaware Supreme Court recently came to a decision in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund IBEW to uphold the order given by the Delaware Court of Chancery to require Wal-Mart to give the...more

Protecting Internal Investigations from Disclosure: Suggested Best Practices

A recent case out of the D.C. Circuit highlights some best practices that can boost the odds that the attorney-client and work product protections will shield internal investigation records. Although not precedential outside...more

What Does Delaware’s Wal-Mart Decision Mean for the Attorney-Client Privilege and Internal Investigations?

The Delaware Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund IBEW, No. 614, 2014 Del. LEXIS 336, 2014 WL 3638848 (July 23, 2014), a Section 220 “books and records” case...more

Delaware’s Adoption of Garner — and Practical Ways to Respond

On July 23, 2014, the Delaware Supreme Court in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund IBEW held that plaintiff stockholders, who make a showing of good cause, can inspect documents concerning a...more

Court Broadens Confidentiality of Investigations - D.C. Circuit extends privilege in internal corporate probes, but inconsistent...

You are counsel to a government contractor that is conducting an internal investigation into possible fraud. Federal mandatory disclosure obligations require an investigation, as does the need to gather facts to seek legal...more

Piercing The Attorney-Client Privilege: The Delaware Supreme Court Orders Wal-Mart To Turn Over Privileged Material Concerning Its...

In a recent decision, the Delaware Supreme Court applied an exception to the attorney-client privilege - known as the fiduciary exception or the Garner doctrine - and ordered Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., ("Wal-Mart") to produce...more

Supreme Court to Take Up Kellogg Brown & Root Whistleblower Case

It’s impossible to understate the importance of strict adherence to procedure when initiating a qui tam action under the False Claims Act. Unfortunately under our legal system, otherwise meritorious claims can often be...more

Attorney-Client Privilege Protection in Internal Investigations Upheld by D.C. Circuit: Good News for Corporate Counsel

In a much-anticipated decision, the D.C. Circuit clarified the general test for the applicability of the attorney-client privilege in internal investigations. In re Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., 14-5505, 2014 WL 2895939 (D.C....more

DC Circuit Maintains Protections for Internal Investigations

Many of the privileges the law recognizes against the compelled disclosure of information exist in order to promote candor. For instance, attorney-client privilege exists because people must be able to remain open and honest...more

Government Contracts Quarterly Update - July 2014

The Government Contracts Quarterly Update is published by BakerHostetler’s Government Contracts Practice team to inform our clients and friends of the latest developments in federal government contracting. Topics will...more

D.C. Circuit Clarified 4 Critical Factors Regarding Attorney-Client Privilege in Corporate Internal Investigations, Finding...

In a recent post, we discussed the D.C. Circuit’s consideration of the District Court’s decision in U.S. ex.rel Barko v. Halliburton Co. et al., Case No. 05-01276 (D.D.C. 2014), which provided an alarming perspective on the...more

Appeals Court Confirms that Results of Internal Investigation are Privileged

On June 27, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a decision in In re: Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., an important ruling which confirms the application of the attorney-client...more

Preservation of Legal Privilege in Corporate Investigations – A Cross Border Comparison

A D.C. Circuit decision (In re Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc.) has confirmed privilege over employee statements during in-house investigations. Can the world take comfort? This article examines privilege in the context of...more

D.C. Circuit Vacates Barko Ruling on Scope of Privilege in Internal Investigations

On June 27, 2014, the D.C. Circuit vacated the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia’s hotly-debated opinion in United States ex rel. Barko v. Halliburton Co., making it clear that internal investigation...more

A Recent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision Calms Employer Fears that Internal Investigations May Not Be Privileged and Lays...

A recent decision from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most important courts in the nation, reaffirmed that a company’s internal investigations—if structured properly—are protected from disclosure in litigation...more

D.C. Circuit grants petition for mandamus and strongly reaffirms attorney-client privilege for internal investigations

The attorney-client privilege has long protected attorney-client communications made during the course of an internal investigation. Upjohn Co. v. United States, 449 U.S. 383 (1983). Of course, the privilege encourages “full...more

Unforced Errors Under Upjohn

Over thirty years ago, the Supreme Court clarified how the attorney-client privilege applies to records of internal investigations in Upjohn v. United States, 449 U.S. 383 (1981). Yet putting the principles of Upjohn into...more

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