Saturday, April 13, 2013

Perez v. Kirk & Carrigan case brief

Perez v. Kirk & Carrigan case brief summary
822 S.W.2d 261 (Tex. Ct. App. 1991)

-Ruben Perez worked for the Valley Coca-Cola Bottling Company as a truck driver.
-On the morning of the accident, Perez attempted to stop his truck at a stop sign along his route, but the truck's brakes failed to stop the truck, which collided with the school bus.
-The school bus was knocked into a pond and 21 children died.
-Perez was injured from the collision and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
-On the day after the accident, Kirk & Carrigan (D) (who were hired to represent Valley Coke) visited Perez to take his statement, stating that everything Perez said would be kept confidential.
-Perez gave a sworn statement about the accident.
-D made arrangements for Connors, a criminal defense attorney, to represent Perez.
-Connors was paid by the insurance company that covered both Perez and Valley Coke.
-D turned over Perez' statement to the District Attorney's office without telling Perez.
-The DA threatened a subpoena if they did not voluntarily comply. 
-The DA was able to obtain a grand jury indictment of Perez for involuntary manslaughter for his actions.

Does Perez have a case for emotional distress and mental anguish as a cause of the breach of confidentiality?

Yes, Perez was protected by the attorney client privilege.

The attorney client privilege and the duty of confidentiality protect information gained from a potential client even if no retention ensues.
-This privilege applies to all confidential communications made to an attorney during preliminary discussions of even prospective professional employment, and also communications that are made during the course of professional representation.
-This duty continues forever, even after the client is dead.

-Even with a subpoena, the lawyer and client can refuse to disclose a confidential communication.

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