Attorney-Client Privilege

News & Analysis as of

The fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege: A recent development

In a suit by the beneficiary against the trustee, is the trustee entitled to assert the attorney-client privilege against the beneficiary, or is there a fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege? As to...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

Why Keeping Corporate Lawyers Quiet Is Good For Us All

In a recent post in The New York Times DealBook, Berkeley Law School Professor Steven Davidoff Solomon argues that keeping corporate lawyers silent “can shelter wrongdoing”. I completely agree that the attorney-client...more

Start Spreading the News: With National Union v. TransCanada, New York Prepares to Broadcast Communications with Coverage...

This is the third and final article about the decision of a New York appellate court in National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh v. TransCanada Energy USA, Inc., 119 A.D.3d 492 (1st Dep’t 2014). The first article discussed...more

Start Spreading the News: With National Union v. TransCanada, New York Prepares to Broadcast Communications with Coverage...

The final opinion of a New York appellate court in National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh v. TransCanada Energy USA, Inc., 119 A.D.3d 492 (2014), is only three paragraphs long, but it raises a host of questions about how,...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

Delaware Supreme Court Permits Stockholders to Overcome Corporation’s Attorney-Client Privilege for “Good Cause”

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

New Jersey Supreme Court Officially Adopts Common Interest Doctrine - This Opinion Is Consistent with Those in Other States and...

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently issued an opinion that, for the first time in New Jersey, expressly adopted the "common interest doctrine." The July 21, 2014, opinion provided confidentiality protections for...more

New York Court Erodes Privilege for Attorney-Insurer Communications

On July 31, 2014, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department chipped away at the privilege protections available to insurers. In National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania v. TransCanada...more

The Crime-Fraud Exception: Open Questions for the Supreme Court

In Zolin, the Supreme Court determined that a party invoking the crime-fraud exception must make a threshold showing before a district court may review documented attorney-client communications in camera. The Court settled on...more

Insurer Claims Attorney-Client Privilege Of Third Parties Prohibits Disclosure To Its Own Attorneys

At first, this case seems somewhat pedestrian – a lawyer sues her erstwhile law firm for employment discrimination. But then things get complicated. It turns out that the lawyer was employed by a law firm that was employed...more

Sunshine Ordinance Preempted by City Charter Provision Creating Attorney-Client Privilege

The First District Court of Appeal determined that City of San Francisco (“City”) resident Allen Grossman (“Grossman”) was not entitled to documents related to the development of certain San Francisco Ethics Commission...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

Former Executive Has No Right To Possess A-C Privileged Documents

Suppose that a corporation terminates its president and chief executive officer who then sues for breach of his employment contract. Does the former executive officer have a right to access and use materials subject to the...more

Are counsel’s coverage opinions privileged in a subsequent coverage action with the insured? NY’s first department indicates not...

On 7/31/14, the First Department held that any documents that pre-date National Union’s disclaimer are not protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege or the work-product doctrine or materials prepared in...more

Court Denies Monetary Sanctions Based on Overdesignation of Documents As Confidential-Outside Counsel Eyes Only But Orders...

In this patent infringement action brought by plaintiff Trustees of Boston University ("BU") , BU alleged that defendants infringed U.S. Patent No. 5,686,738 (the "'738 Patent"), which pertains to light emitting diodes...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds Claim Of Corporate Attorney-Client Privilege

A recent blog post addressed a noteworthy decision in United States ex rel. Barko v. Halliburton Co., No. 1:05-CV-1276, 2014 WL 1016784 (D.D.C. Mar. 6, 2014), which held that materials relating to an internal investigation...more

California Insurance Coverage Cases Raising Key Issues On The Horizon

This year, 2014, is lining up with interesting insurance coverage cases pending across the country which may lead to far reaching decisions. In California specifically, it is apparent to us that the Hartford Insurance...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

Delaware Likes Garner/California Not So Much

In 1970, Richard Nixon was president, the 26th Amendment was still not part of the Constitution, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Garner v. Wolfinbarger, 430 F.2d 1093 (5th Cir. 1970). In that...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

California Insurance Coverage Cases Raising Key Issues On The Horizon

This year, 2014, is lining up with interesting insurance coverage cases pending across the country which may lead to far reaching decisions. In California specifically, it is apparent to us that the Hartford Insurance...more

Is Attorney-Client Privilege Affected By Who Pays Counsel Fees?

After receiving great interest from our “Fiduciary Exception to the Attorney-Client Privilege” article, we provide this follow-up article to address a possible “exception to the exception” that may still protect documents...more

Washington State Supreme Court Limits Attorney-Client Privilege for Healthcare-Provider Corporations

In a major decision that affects healthcare-provider corporations, the Washington State Supreme Court significantly limited attorneys’ ability to engage in privileged conversations with the provider corporation’s employed...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

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