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 together with her lawyer quite a lot of instances. Throughout quite a lot of the conferences, a pal was current, though they might not bear 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 lawyer knowledgeable her that the attorney-client privilege wouldn’t apply with the pal current, however the spouse insisted. The husband believed that the lawyer advised her that making the report was the one technique 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 lawyer. The spouse claimed that the communications had been protected by the attorney-client privilege.
The trial courtroom, Choose Deanna B. Johnson, held that the communications weren’t privileged. Although 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 attraction to the Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals.
The appeals courtroom started by noting that the presence of a 3rd celebration waives the attorney-client privilege.
The appeals courtroom agreed that the burden of proof was on the spouse to determine which conferences had been with out the pal. It famous that the spouse was in the most effective place to have the required information. Since she was not in a position to establish the person conferences, the courtroom agreed that she had failed to satisfy the burden of proof.
For these causes, the Courtroom of Appeals affirmed the decrease courtroom and remanded the case. It assessed the prices of attraction towards the spouse, however didn’t award both celebration lawyer charges.
No. M2019-01397-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. June 29, 2020).
See authentic opinion for actual language. Authorized citations omitted.
To study extra, see The Tennessee Divorce Process: How Divorces Work Start to Finish.