Today’s Update marks our first guest column. From time to time, we will share this space with friends of PCCJR. Attorneys are welcome to submit pieces on legal developments relevant to current civil justice issues. Topic submissions are subject to editorial approval. If you have an idea and would like to submit an article, contact PCCJR Executive Director Curt Schroder at firstname.lastname@example.org
Supreme Court Clarifies Attorney Work Product and Client Privilege Doctrines
The attorney-client privilege and attorney work-product doctrine got a fresh look recently from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Thanks in part to the efforts of PCCJR, which submitted an amici curiae Brief, the Court provided greater clarity on the path businesses in the Commonwealth should follow to maintain protection from discovery of their communications and other materials.
In BouSamra v. Excela Health, 2019 Pa. LEXIS 3277 (decided June 18, 2019), Pennsylvania’s highest court developed a new analysis for assessing whether a party has waived the attorney work-product doctrine, and explained the circumstances under which the attorney-client privilege may be preserved when communications include someone other than the lawyer and client.
In this case, Excela Health conducted an internal investigation based on suspected cases of patients who received cardiac stents, which may have been medically unnecessary. As part of the process, Excela hired a public relations firm (Jarrad) to assist in managing the message. Excela also hired outside counsel, who sent an e-mail to Excela’s General Counsel (Fedele) providing legal advice on the matter. In turn, Fedele forwarded outside counsel’s e-mail to a principal at Jarrad, who circulated the communication among Jarrad’s personnel working on the matter. [Read more…] about PCCJR Update — July 30, 2019