Mixing Business With Legal Work

The plaintiff in a personal injury suit sought to compel the deposition of the defendants’ outside counsel, who had also served as the parent company’s secretary. The trial court granted the motion in part, ordering the attorney to testify on certain business-related matters and his investigation of the collision that had injured the plaintiff. The Court of Appeals held that communications and materials provided to the attorney in his capacity as secretary were not privileged, but that information provided to or collected by him as the defendants’ attorney was necessarily privileged and therefore outside the proper scope of discovery. The Court of Appeals conditionally granted mandamus to exclude privileged information from the scope of the business-related topics, and to deny entirely the plaintiff’s attempt to obtain discovery regarding the attorney’s investigation of the accident.

In re Southpak Container Corp., No. 05-13-01457-CV

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