May 14, 2018 Top Story

Joint Client May Compel Disclosure of Privileged Documents

Objection of former joint client does not prevent production

By Matthew S. Mulqueen

Parties in a joint attorney-client relationship who give little thought to the discoverability of privileged communications until a conflict emerges may be surprised to learn that a former joint client can compel the disclosure of communications within the scope of the parties' representation.

iStockphoto by Getty Images

In Newsome v. Lawson, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware granted a joint client's motion to compel the production of privileged communications from a joint attorney, despite the objections of the other joint client. The decision reinforces the importance of addressing potential conflicts with clients at the outset of a joint representation, according to leaders in the ABA Section of Litigation.

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