Buckley LLP v Series 1 of Oxford Insurance Company, NC, LLC

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Opinion Filed August 19, 2022
Attorney for the Case James P. Cooney, III
Amicus Brief Writers Paul Smith Laura Wetsch Narendra Ghosh
Court NC Supreme Court
Docket No. 219A21

NCAJ filed an amicus brief with the North Carolina Supreme Court addressing employers’ obligation to disclose communications with outside counsel related to investigations into alleged sexual harassment. The Employer in question was required under its own policies to investigate any complaint of sexual harassment, and when a complaint was raised, chose to retain a law firm to conduct the investigation. It then sought to avoid disclosing any communications with counsel regarding the investigation by asserting attorney-client privilege. The trial court reviewed each of the communications at issue, and required disclosure of all that were unrelated to seeking or providing legal advice. The Employer appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court. In its amicus brief, NCAJ argued that the trial court applied the correct standard, and that employers should not be permitted to avoid their disclosure obligations by laundering an internal business investigation through outside counsel.