Tennessee case abstract on attorney-client privilege.
The spouse on this Williamson County, Tennessee, case filed for divorce in 2016. The spouse was represented by an lawyer and met along with her lawyer numerous occasions. Throughout numerous the conferences, a good friend was current, though they may not bear in mind which conferences the good friend was current for. Throughout one of many conferences, she mentioned whether or not she ought to report her husband’s actions to regulation enforcement. The lawyer knowledgeable her that the attorney-client privilege wouldn’t apply with the good friend current, however the spouse insisted. The husband believed that the lawyer informed her that making the report was the one technique to acquire a bonus within the divorce case.
The spouse subsequently reported the husband to the police division. The husband alleged that this report was for the aim of inflicting emotional misery. As part of his declare, the husband requested discovery of the spouse’s communications with the lawyer. The spouse claimed that the communications have been protected by the attorney-client privilege.
The trial court docket, Decide Deanna B. Johnson, held that the communications weren’t privileged. Despite the fact that the good friend was not current for the entire communications, the spouse had the burden of proof to determine that the good friend was not current. The spouse then introduced an interlocutory attraction to the Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals.
The appeals court docket started by noting that the presence of a 3rd social gathering waives the attorney-client privilege.
The appeals court docket agreed that the burden of proof was on the spouse to determine which conferences have been with out the good friend. It famous that the spouse was in the most effective place to have the mandatory information. Since she was not in a position to determine the person conferences, the court docket agreed that she had failed to satisfy the burden of proof.
For these causes, the Courtroom of Appeals affirmed the decrease court docket and remanded the case. It assessed the prices of attraction in opposition to the spouse, however didn’t award both social gathering lawyer charges.
No. M2019-01397-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. June 29, 2020).
See unique opinion for actual language. Authorized citations omitted.
To study extra, see The Tennessee Divorce Process: How Divorces Work Start to Finish.