Today the Third Circuit published a 93-page opinion detailing several ins and outs of the attorney-client communication privilege. The rulings will interest in-house counsel everywhere. In re Teleglobe Communications Inc. (Teleglobe USA Inc. v. BCE Inc.), No. 06-2915 (3d Cir. July 17, 2007).
The case involved claims by subsidiary corporations against their former parent for abandoning them after they started bleeding money. Advice from lawyers — about the staunchability of the sanguinary flow, its staunchworthiness, and the legal implications of staunching it in various ways — ran to the parent, Bell Canada; Teleglobe, a first-tier subsidiary of Bell Canada; and several second-tier subs. The second tiers bled out and took bankruptcy, sued Bell Canada, and sought documents reflecting the legal advice. The district court sided with the offspring and ordered papa Bell Canada to fork over the materials.
The Third Circuit reversed and remanded and in the course of doing so elucidated many nooks and crannies of privilege law as it applies to corporate families and the aftermath of their breaking up. So many, in fact, we won’t discuss them here. Happy reading!