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United States v. Hatfield

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

January 8, 2010, Decided; January 8, 2010, Filed

06-CR-0550 (JS)

Opinion

ORDER

SEYBERT, District Judge:

Pending before the Court is Defendants David Brooks' and Sandra Hatfield's motions to dismiss the Indictment, or, in the alternative, suppress certain evidence, based on alleged violations of the attorney-client privilege and attorney work-product  [*2] doctrine. On February 23-26, 2009, the Court held an evidentiary hearing on this matter. On November 13, 2009, the Court issued preliminary findings. See U.S. v. Hatfield, 06-CR-0550, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106269, 2009 WL 3806300 (E.D.N.Y. 2009). 1 Now, after extensive further hearings, the Court is able to reach the following final determinations.

DISCUSSION

I. Defendants' Privilege Claims

A. The Huron Documents

Preliminarily, the Court found that: (1) Mintz Levin originally retained Huron on Mr. Brooks' behalf; and (2) on April 10, 2006, Huron's engagement with Mintz Levin terminated, and Huron began working for DHB directly. Based on those findings, the Court preliminarily held that: (1) Mr. Brooks can assert privilege and/or work-product protection for Huron-created material generated before April 10, 2006, unless he has waived these rights; (2) likewise, Mr. Brooks can assert privilege with respect to otherwise privileged communications between Mintz Levin, himself, and/or Huron that took place before April 10, 2006; but (3) Mr. Brooks cannot assert privilege or the work product doctrine for any Huron work  [*3] performed on or after April 10, 2006.

Nothing presented during the second evidentiary hearing changed the Court's mind concerning the nature and timing of Huron's engagement. Thus, the Court still finds that: (1) pre-April 10, 2006, Huron worked for Mintz Levin on Mr. Brooks' behalf; and (2) beginning on April 10, 2006, Huron's client changed to DHB. That being said, as seen below, the evidence presented during the second evidentiary hearing completely refutes Mr. Brooks' position that he can assert privilege or work product protection over the Huron material.

1. Mintz Levin did not Retain Huron Pursuant to a Kovel Relationship

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2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4026 *; 2010 WL 183522

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, -against- SANDRA HATFIELD, DAVID H. BROOKS, PATRICIA LENNEX, Defendants.

Subsequent History: Motion denied by, Motion granted by, in part, Motion denied by, in part, Request denied by United States v. Brooks, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2277 (E.D.N.Y., Jan. 11, 2010)

Prior History: United States v. Schlegel, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107145 (E.D.N.Y., Nov. 16, 2009)

CORE TERMS

documents, work product, privileged, Waived, joint defense, disclosure, engagement, no evidence, work product doctrine, independent auditor, immunity, hard drive, promptly, copies, rights, attorney-client, accounting, invoices, sharing, e-mail, privileged document, preparing, summarize, parties, audit, work product protection, reasonable precautions, evidentiary hearing, advice of counsel, privilege claim