There's No Attorney-Client Privilege for the Communication of Facts

There's No Attorney-Client Privilege for the Communication of Facts

 It's been nearly ten years since the North Carolina Supreme Court decided a case involving the attorney-client privilege.  That case was In re Miller, 357 N.C. 316, 584 S.E.2d 772 (2003) [an enhanced version of this opinion is available to subscribers], which raised the question whether the privilege survives the death of the client.  (It does.)

That case, which involved a criminal investigation, raised some esoteric issues.  Those are probably unlikely to come up in a business litigation practice, but Judge Jolly's Order last week in Meir v. Meir is likely to have more of a day-to-day impact on your practice.

Let's say your client is questioned about the facts underlying the Complaint that you drafted based on those facts as told to you by her.  Are those facts privileged because they were told to you, her attorney?  Of course not.  We all should know that.

But what if you, lawyer, tell her, client, the facts you have learned about her claim from other sources.  Is that privileged?  Can you instruct her not to answer questions about those facts at her deposition?

 Read this article in its entirety on North Carolina Business Litigation Report, a blog for lawyers focusing on issues of North Carolina business law and the day-to-day practice of business litigation in North Carolina courts.

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