Attorney-Client Privledges - Company Documents Which Violated Fedral Securities
Are Documents of a Company Which Violated Fedral Securities Law and Commited Law Fraud Protected by Attorney-Client Privledges ?
In Ritt v. Thriving Enterprises (E.D.Pa. 1983) 37 Fed. R. Serv. 2d (Callaghan) 1159, plaintiff alleged defendant company violated federal securities law and committed common law fraud arising from the sale of dies and molds.
Plaintiff sought discovery of documents related to sales of tools and dies to purchasers other than plaintiff. Defendant company argued the documents were protected by the attorney-client privilege.
However, defendant edited the documents to delete the names and addresses of the purported clients.
The court found the contested documents pertained to business and accounting discussion or reports on investments.
The court acknowledged Baird and noted that "protection of the client name is to be granted where substantive communications have been previously revealed that are by their nature such an integral part of the attorney-client relationship that any subsequent revelation of identity would seriously impinge upon that relationship...." ( Id. at p. 1161.)
The court concluded defendant failed to demonstrate the documents were of such a nature that revelation of the clients' names and addresses "'would yield substantially probative links'" in an existing chain of inculpatory events or transactions "or have similar significance. " ( Id. at p. 1162.)
Defendant also failed to show the documents "'have as a primary purpose the securing or providing of legal services,' as opposed to dealing with general business matters as would appear from the face of the documents." (Ibid.)