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 legal professional and met along with her legal professional various occasions. Throughout various the conferences, a pal was current, though they may not keep in mind which conferences the pal 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 legal professional knowledgeable her that the attorney-client privilege wouldn’t apply with the pal current, however the spouse insisted. The husband believed that the legal professional instructed her that making the report was the one strategy to achieve 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 legal professional. The spouse claimed that the communications have been protected by the attorney-client privilege.
The trial courtroom, Decide Deanna B. Johnson, held that the communications weren’t privileged. Regardless that the pal was not current for the entire communications, the spouse had the burden of proof to determine that the pal was not current. The spouse then introduced an interlocutory enchantment to the Tennessee Court docket of Appeals.
The appeals courtroom started by noting that the presence of a 3rd occasion waives the attorney-client privilege.
The appeals courtroom agreed that the burden of proof was on the spouse to determine which conferences have been with out the pal. It famous that the spouse was in the very best place to have the required information. Since she was not capable of determine the person conferences, the courtroom agreed that she had failed to fulfill the burden of proof.
For these causes, the Court docket of Appeals affirmed the decrease courtroom and remanded the case. It assessed the prices of enchantment towards the spouse, however didn’t award both occasion legal professional charges.
No. M2019-01397-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. June 29, 2020).
See unique opinion for precise language. Authorized citations omitted.
To be taught extra, see The Tennessee Divorce Process: How Divorces Work Start to Finish.