The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) announced Jan. 26 that it filed an amicus curiae brief, in conjunction with the Illinois State Bar Association, on the Illinois appellate court decision in Center Partners Ltd. et al v. Growth Head GP LLC et al. During the case, a dispute between parties who own and operate shopping malls, it came to light that during negotiations surrounding a purchase, the parties had shared with each other advice from their respective attorneys. The court then held that because of that, even the non-disclosed communication was waived.
The brief contests that the court’s decision constituted an improper waiver of attorney-client privilege, that sharing legal advice with regard to aspects of a business transaction doesn’t, as the court said, waive privilege protection for all related confidential information. The brief advises the Illinois Supreme Court to overturn the decision.
The brief, which can be read here, asserts that the lower court’s decision conflicts with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, and that it would undermine the attorney-client privilege.
“Unless the Illinois Supreme Court clarifies the true scope of the subject matter waiver doctrine, Illinois may become a place counsel and their clients won’t be free to have open conversations about complex negotiations,” said Veta T. Richardson, ACC’s president and CEO, in a statement.