Matthew Reinhard Quoted Regarding Lasting Impact of KBR Decision in Compliance Week

"Appeals Court Preserves Attorney-Client Privilege"
Compliance Week
07.07.14Matthew Reinhard was quoted regarding the D.C. Circuit Court's reversal of a district court ruling requiring that Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) disclose confidential internal investigations documents, protected by attorney-client privilege, in response to a False Claims Act claim. "The court in this opinion recognized that the distinction between legal advice and business advice is one that can blur very easily, particularly in companies that have large compliance programs," Reinhard said. "Traditionally, in-house counsel could direct non-lawyers to conduct an internal investigation. It doesn't make sense to bring in outside counsel for every single allegation that needs to be investigated. So long as one of the primary purposes of that was to enable in-house counsel to provide legal advice to the company, all those communications would be protected by attorney-client privilege." Practitioners agree that the ruling is significant because it appears to be first of its kind, and Reinhard added that courts and corporate counsel are likely to cite the D.C. Circuit decision every time there is any debate as to whether attorney-client privilege applies with regard to internal communications. "It's going to have importance down the line," he said.
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