Thursday, December 5, 2013

In re Osterhoudt case brief

In re Osterhoudt case brief summary
722 F.2d 591 (1983)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant sought review of the order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California denying appellant's motion to quash the government's grand jury subpoena directed to appellant's attorney, in connection with the grand jury's investigation of possible income tax and controlled substance violations by appellant.

CASE FACTS
The government issued a grand jury subpoena to appellant's attorney, who was representing appellant in connection with the grand jury's investigation of possible income tax and controlled substance violations. The government sought informal disclosure of the amount, form, and date of payment of legal fees. The lower court denied appellant's motion to quash the subpoena.

DISCUSSION

  • The court held that the denial was proper. 
  • The purpose of the attorney-client privilege was to protect a person's right to confide in counsel free from apprehension of disclosure of confidential communications. 
  • The information required was so distinct from any confidential communication between appellant and his counsel and so clearly unprotected by the attorney-client privilege that no reasonably informed client could have supposed that it would be protected from disclosure. 
  • Since the attorney was not required to testify before the grand jury, this source of client concern was also eliminated. 
  • Moreover, the government established by uncontradicted affidavits that the evidence was sought for a legitimate purpose, that it was relevant to the grand jury inquiry, and that it was not available from another source.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the lower court's denial of appellant's motion to quash the government's grand jury subpoena for disclosure by appellant's attorney of the amount, form, and date of payment of legal fees. The fee arrangement was not protected by the attorney-client privilege.


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