In Re: Grand Jury

ABC is a dissolved corporation. Doe 1 was the company’s President and sole shareholder. Doe 2 is his son. LaCheen represents ABC and Doe 1; Blank represents Doe 2. The law firms have a joint-defense agreement covering the three. Investigating tax implications of ABC’s acquisition and sale of closely held companies, the government issued a grand jury subpoena to ABC’s former vice president as custodian of records. The documents are in custody of Blank. ABC refused to accept service of the subpoena issued to its former employee. The government issued subpoenas to LaCheen and Blank. The firms withheld documents listed on a privilege log. The government sought to compel ABC, Blank, and LaCheen to produce documents identified on the privilege logs, citing cited the crime-fraud doctrine, which provides that evidentiary privileges may not be used to shield communications made for purposes of getting advice for commission of a fraud or crime. The district court entered the order. The Third Circuit dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction. To obtain immediate appellate review, a privilege holder must disobey the order, be held in contempt, then appeal the contempt order. That route is available to ABC, which can obtain custody of the documents from its agent. View "In Re: Grand Jury" on Justia Law