Attorney-Client Privilege

Recent Illinois Case: Janousek v. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Posted on Updated on

The First District affirmed the grant of summary judgment on statute of limitations grounds. The court held that the plaintiff’s suspicions that his attorney was aiding and abetting a client’s breach of fiduciary duty was sufficient knowledge to commence the statute. The court also held that the defendant attorneys did not improperly use the attorney client privilege to shield relevant information plaintiff needed to discover his claim.

Janousek v. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, 2015 IL App (1st) 142989

(This is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.)

Recent Illinois Case: Bay Group Health Care LLC v. Ginsberg Jacobs LLC

Posted on Updated on

Malpractice case dismissed because purported “clients” (guarantors of loan) did not believe bank’s lawyers were representing them pursuant to a confession of judgment clause in loan documents. Portion of release in settlement agreement between bank and guarantors that released former agents and legal representatives of bank did not specifically release bank’s attorneys; portion of release that specifically mentioned attorneys did not apply to former attorneys; and interaction of two clauses meant that former attorneys were not released.

Bay Group Health Care LLC v. Ginsberg Jacobs LLC, 2015 WL 5174006.

(This is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.)

Attorney-Client Privilege Applies to Communications of Attorneys Inside a Law Firm Who Seek Legal Advice From Their Colleagues About a Malpractice Claim  

Posted on Updated on

by Alex Berg, Attorney, Novack and Macey LLP

Alexander Berg - Aug 2012
Alexander L. Berg

The First District Court of Appeals held in two cases from 2012 that the attorney-client privilege applies to individual attorneys inside a law firm who seek legal advice from their colleagues regarding a potential malpractice claim against them or their firms.  See MDA City Apartments LLC v. DLA Piper LLP, 2012 IL App (1st), 111047; Garvy v. Seyfarth Shaw LLP, 2012 IL App (1st), 110115.

In both cases, the court examined the scope of the attorney-client privilege when a law firm faces a malpractice claim by a former client.  First, the court in each case discussed the fiduciary-duty exception to the attorney-client privilege and the plaintiff’s argument in each case that this exception requires production of communications between a law firm and its inside and outside counsel.  Each court, however, held that Illinois does not recognize the exception.  MDA City Apartments, 2012 IL App (1st), 111047, ¶¶ 15-18; Garvy, 2012 IL App (1st), 110115, ¶¶ 32-35.

Moreover, the Courts held that, even if Illinois recognized the fiduciary-duty exception to the attorney-client privilege, a law firm’s communications with both its inside and outside counsel relating to a malpractice claim are privileged.  MDA City Apartments, 2012 IL App (1st), 111047, ¶ 18; Garvy, 2012 IL App (1st), 110115, ¶ 35.

(This is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.)

MDA City Apartments LLC v. DLA Piper LLP (US), 2012 IL App (1st) 111047, 967 N.E.2d 424, 359 Ill. Dec. 694

Posted on Updated on

MDA City Apartments LLC v. DLA Piper LLP (US), 2012 IL App (1st) 111047, 967 N.E.2d 424, 359 Ill. Dec. 694 (Illinois has not adopted fiduciary duty exception to attorney-client privilege)