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Posts Tagged ‘President Donald Trump’

I wasn’t going to weigh in. But attorney-client confidentiality confusion is back in the news. This time it’s over President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen and Fox News Talk Show Host Sean Hannity and whether there’s an attorney-client relationship between them. So comment I will.

However, in place of comprehensively revisiting the topic again here, I direct you instead to one of this blog’s most highly read posts, “When is a client a client? On what establishes an attorney-client relationship.” It’s on point and why I decided not to let the moment pass, especially since pop culture (see below) and even some lawyers remain muddled about the subject.

https://cdn.morguefile.com/imageData/public/files/a/alvimann/preview/fldr_2008_11_07/file0001224520150.jpgLawyer, former judge, and Hannity’s Fox News compadre Andrew Napolitano typifies the misconceptions. Discussing this week’s revelation that Hannity was Cohen’s mystery client on “Outnumbered Overtime” with host Harris Faulkner, Napolitano pushed back on Hannity’s claim he “may have” paid Cohen $10 to get attorney-client privilege. Napolitano told Faulner, “I must tell you that that is a myth. The attorney-client privilege requires a formal relationship reduced to writing for a specific legal purpose.” 

Having someone pay a lawyer a buck or ten-spot to inoculate a conversation as a privileged attorney-client communication is a common contrivance in novels, movies and on shows like “Better Call Saul” and Breaking Bad.”

But the good judge is wrong. You don’t need a writing. In a nutshell, the bright-line test to create an attorney-client relationship is whether or not the person consulting a lawyer does so “with a view to obtaining legal services.” A signed attorney-client contract or the payment of a fee — whether $1, $10 or $10,000 — isn’t relevant to establish that relationship.

Why does this matter? It matters when a client becomes a client because of the protections of the attorney-client privilege upon which clients rely. For an attorney-client privilege to be raised, an attorney-client relationship must exist.

For more about “the myth of the dollar bill as a prerequisite to the formation of a privileged relationship and the myth that all communications with a lawyer are protected,” see “Better Call Saul: Is You Want Discoverable Communications: The Misrepresentation of the Attorney-Client Privilege on Breaking Bad” and “Sean Hannity’s idea of ‘attorney-client privilege’ was right out of Breaking Bad.”

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Credit: Sean Hannity, caricature by Dokey Hotey, at Flickr via Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

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Who knew President Trump was on to something? Forget ‘finger lickin’ goodness. Taking the President’s lead, fried chicken may be safest eaten with a knife  — not just a spork.

Well at least that was the lawsuit filed October 31, 2016 against Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., et al. by Gulfport, Mississippi lawyer Paul Newton Jr.

In his complaint, Newton alleged that for want of a knife he choked on a piece of fried chicken breast and required emergency surgery the same evening to remove the chicken piece from his throat.

He claimed it was a consequence of Popeyes’ failure to provide customers with a plastic knife with their drive-thru orders. Neither man or woman eats by spork alone.

In addition to his medical and pain and suffering damages, Newton also asked for an order requiring Popeyes to provide its drive-thru customers “with the appropriate utensil or utensils such as a plastic knife to enable such customers to cut their purchased food orders into appropriate portions.”

Newtown’s chicken complaint won’t rise to the level of Roy Pearson Jr.notoriety. Pearson was the lawyer best remembered for suing his dry cleaners for millions over a missing pair of pants. That lawsuit got tossed out of court.

But in Newton’s case, he later dropped the suit on his own because of “extreme comments directed to me and my family.”

Bottom line, don’t choke on fried chicken — not when there’s still FREE CLE. Along with the standard disclaimers about availability; jurisdictional creditworthiness; and content quality, here’s the latest knife and fork-free update.

FREE CLE

Attorney Protective

Hindsight: A Great Thing To Borrow – Oct 12, 2017

“Many lawyers sued for malpractice gain clarity on best practices only after it is too late. This webinar is designed to help you acquire a clearer understanding of the risks by studying what went wrong for other attorneys during their malpractice cases.”

Date: Oct 12, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM-1:00 Central Time, 1:00 PM-2:00 Eastern Time and 10:00 AM-11:00 Pacific Time

One hour of Ethics CLE

Reserve your Webinar seat at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/761297833764662529

 

Time Management Tips for Lawyers – Nov 6, 2017

Date: Nov 6, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM-1:00 Central Time, 1:00 PM-2:00 Eastern Time and 10:00 AM-11:00 Pacific Time

One hour of General CLE

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Nossaman LLP

[Webinar] Cybersecurity Threats Facing Water Utilities and the Steps You Should Take to Mitigate Risk

Date: October 12th, 10:00am PT

One hour of General CLE

To register for this webinar, click here

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Baker Hostetler

[Webinar] Real Estate, Cybersecurity and The Internet of Things

Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 / Noon – 1 p.m. EST

One hour of General CLE

To register, click here.

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Credits: President Donald Trump eating fried chicken, Twitter @Real Donald Trump; 0797 chicken love, by Mark Morgan, Flickr Creative Commons Attribution; Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen menu board, by Mike Mozart, at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution.

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