Work-Product Doctrine

News & Analysis as of

Accountant and Attorney Liability Newsbrief - Fall 2014

In This Issue: - Attorneys’ E-mails to Client’s Independent Contractor May Be Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege - New York Appeals Court Decision Allows Predecessor Counsel to Place Equal Blame on Successor...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

How Far Does the In-House Zone of Silence Extend?

In a recent case, a Massachusetts appellate court raised important questions about the scope of the work product doctrine for in-house lawyers. In Cahaly v. Benistar Property Exchange Trust Co., the plaintiffs sought...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

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

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

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

Focus on Tax Controversy and Litigation - July 2014

In this issue: - Supreme Court Limits Taxpayer’s Ability to Examine the IRS at a Summons Enforcement Hearing - Court Determines Tax Analysis not Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Doctrine...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

Attorney-Client Privilege Protects Against Production of Internal Investigations of Fraud

If you have been worrying about a potential issue related to an audit or False Claims Act (FCA) complaint, but have been nervous to proceed with an internal investigation in case those results should come back damning and...more

D.C. Circuit Broadly Applies Attorney-Client Privilege to Internal Investigations

The attorney-client privilege broadly applies to communications made for the purpose of obtaining or providing legal advice. However, what if an internal investigation has multiple purposes, some of which are to provide legal...more

D.C. Circuit Overturns Lower Court Ruling and Reaffirms the Ability of In-House Counsel to Conduct Internal Investigations

In a significant decision issued last week reaffirming the importance of the attorney-client privilege in connection with internal investigations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed a lower court ruling...more

D.C. Circuit Protects Attorney-Client Privilege in Internal Corporate Investigations

The appellate court clarifies that internal corporate investigations are subject to the attorney-client privilege where one of the significant purposes of the investigation is to secure legal advice for the company....more

Supreme Court to Decide Important False Claims Act Statute of Limitations and Jurisdictional Bar Issues

On July 1, 2014, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc., et al. v. United States ex rel. Carter (No. 12-1497), a case involving two issues that have been central to recent False Claims Act...more

DC Circuit Rejects Narrow View Of Attorney-Client Privilege In Internal Company Investigations

On June 27, 2014, the D.C. Circuit granted Kellogg Brown & Root’s (“KBR’s”) petition for a writ of mandamus and vacated a federal district court order requiring KBR to produce 89 documents related to an internal...more

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...more

DC Circuit Strongly Reaffirms the Applicability of the Attorney-Client Privilege to Internal Compliance Investigations

Especially in the District of Columbia Circuit, the home base for many fraud cases in which the government is opposed to health care providers and defense contractors, there had been considerable doubt that the...more

Common Sense Prevails as D.C. Circuit Applies Upjohn in Vacating District Court Order to Produce Investigation Reports

Government contractors and other companies subject to internal investigation requirements won some relief from the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on June 26 with a decision that firmly reiterated that...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds Attorney-Client Privilege in Internal Investigations - Privilege Protections Triggered When a Significant...

Corporate counsel can rest a little easier now. In a widely anticipated decision issued June 27, 2014, In re Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., the D.C. Circuit granted a writ of mandamus and vacated a district court order requiring...more

Internal Investigations Remain Internal – Attorney Client Privilege Protected by D.C. Circuit

On June 27, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an important, unanimous decision upholding the assertion of attorney-client privilege for an internal investigation. The decision is especially...more

Waiver of Attorney-Client and Work-Product – You Can’t Be Just a Little Bit Pregnant

A recent Mississippi opinion dramatically underscores the dangers of an advice-of-counsel defense. In Willis v. Allstate Ins. Co., — F.Supp.2d —, 2014 WL 1882387 (S.D.Miss., May 12, 2014), the court held that the insurer had...more

D.C. Circuit Considers Whether Complying With Federal Regulations Obviates the Attorney-Client Privilege & Work Product Doctrine...

The internal investigation is a critical tool for companies operating in the current environment of stringent regulatory oversight and government scrutiny. The attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine are sacred...more

Northern District of Iowa: Litigation “Reasonably Foreseeable” After Insured Accuses Insurer of Acting in Bad Faith

Meighan v. TransGuard Ins. Co. of Am., Inc., No. C13-3024-MWB, 2014 WL 1199596 (N.D. Iowa Mar. 24, 2014). The Northern District of Iowa finds that claim reserves and settlement information created after litigation was...more

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