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Timm Adams, et al v. United States of America

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO


March 15, 2011

TIMM ADAMS, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court

ORDER RE PRIVILEGED LETTER

Counsel have presented to the Court, in camera, a letter dated June 6, 2001, for a determination of whether the letter is privileged. Counsel also e-mailed the Court their positions, and agreed that the Court could decide the issue without a formal motion or briefing.

DuPont argues that the letter does not contain legal counsel but instead contains advice on the client's business decisions. A letter so written is not privileged. Upjohn Co. v. United States, 449 U.S. 383, 395 (1981). But legal advice on business matters is privileged. Id. This is a fine line and often a communication will include both business advice and legal advice on business matters.

The letter here, however, is not dispensing business advice. Instead, it amasses various facts to build a defense against the bank's collection of loans from the client. By providing these facts to the client's attorney, it appears the attempt is to build legal defenses to collection, not dispense business advice. Accordingly, the Court finds the letter dated June 6, 2001 and its attachments to be subject to the attorney client privilege. Counsel for DuPont are ordered to return the letter dated June 6, 2001, and attachments, to plaintiffs and make no use of the letter. Accordingly,

NOW THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, counsel for DuPont are ordered to return the letter dated June 6, 2001, and attachments, to plaintiffs and make no use of the letter.

20110315

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