01
Dec

PART 2 In an earlier post, I explained that in Washington the attorney-client privilege held by corporations protects communications between corporate counsel and lower-level corporate employees, with some exceptions.  Does this also rule protect communications between counsel for government agencies and lower-level government employees?  Although there does not appear to be a published Washington case on point, the answer is very likely yes. Washington law is clear that the attorney-client privilege, codified at RCW 5.60.060(2), protects communications between the legal advisors ...

25
Nov

PART 1 In Upjohn Co. v. United States, the United States Supreme Court held that the attorney-client privilege protected communications between counsel for Upjohn – who were investigating possible illegal activities by the company – and lower-level company employees.[1]  The Supreme Court rejected the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ holding that under the so-called “control group” test, the privilege only covered communications between counsel and “officers and agents … responsible for directing Upjohn’s actions in response to legal advice.”

29
Aug

On June 24 the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar.  Though it did not garner the attention of the Proposition 8 and DOMA cases, the Nassar decision will have substantial impact on employees bringing claims for retaliation under Title VII. In Nassar, the issue before the Court was what standard of causation to apply for claims of employment retaliation brought under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-(3)(a).  The Plaintiff/Respondent argued that the ...

12
Aug

The Supreme Court’s Examination of Standing in United States v. Windsor[1] The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent invalidation of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) overshadowed a fascinating procedural law holding. Typically, when a citizen questions the constitutionality of an act of Congress, the U.S. Government—through the Justice Department—defends the law.  In Windsor, however, the Justice Department notified Congress that it would no longer defend DOMA, although it would continue to enforce it.  Instead, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory ...

24
Jul

William Cranch was born on July 17, 1769.  He served with distinction on the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, first as Judge (1801-06) and then Chief Judge (1806-55).[1]  From the bench Cranch had occasion to decide, among many other things, whether John Quincy Adams had been elected President in accordance with the federal constitution, a treason case against Aaron Burr and two of his associates, and how to dispose of two separate cases of criminal assault in ...

29
May

On May 10, 1886, the United States Supreme Court decided County of Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co.[1]  The main issue presented by the parties was whether certain taxes assessed by a state agency against the railroad company defendants violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  The Supreme Court sidestepped that issue, disposing of the case on grounds that fences along the railway lines in question were “improvements,” not part of ...