Attorney/Client Privilege Self-Quiz








A few months after being elected Senator, Cliffton was charged by the federal government with tax evasion. The whole country focused in on the case – talk shows featuring politicians enjoyed skyrocketing ratings, the kids on MTV felt the need to discuss the case in daily news briefings, and even the Animal Planet station rearranged its regular schedule to accommodate news from the Cliffton front. The federal prosecutor assigned to the case served a subpoena requiring Cliffton’s attorney to turn over some records of Cliffton’s savings accounts that Cliffton had delivered to her attorney. The attorney refused to turn over the records. The prosecutor tried to compel production. What will the court do?
Choice 1 Demand production of the records, because there would be no confidentiality issue.
Choice 2 Demand production of the records, because there would be no attorney-client privilege violation.
Choice 3 Side with Cliffton and her attorney because the attorney-client privilege protects against disclosure.
Choice 4 Side with Cliffton and her attorney, because Cliffton has a right according to the 5th Amendment to refuse production on self-incrimination grounds.
Russ Crewe, a big movie star, was walking on a sidewalk in New York City on the Upper West Side when he slipped on some ice outside The Bagel Shop, fell flat on his face and fractured his cranium, losing his front teeth in the process. Doctors also decided his nose had to be amputated when gangrene later got a hold of it. He sued The Bagel Shop’s owner for negligence. The owner claimed that the ice had just formed an hour or so before Crewe slipped on it, and that he, the owner, had scraped the ice twice before on the day of Crewe’s career-ending injury. Apparently the owner had sought legal advice and representation by one Attorney Atul before deciding on Attorney Beeg. Plaintiff Crewe’s attorney found out about the owner’s meeting with Atul and decided he’d put Atul on the stand and get him to tell the court what he knows about the owner’s actions on the fateful day of the injury. Beeg objects to the testimony. How would the court rule on admissibility?
Choice 1 Inadmissible, because the testimony violates the attorney-client privilege.
Choice 2 Admissible, because the owner admitted to being at fault and admissions are an exception to the attorney-client privilege.
Choice 3 Admissible, because the owner did not choose Atul as his attorney, and so the attorney-client privilege would not apply.
Choice 4 Inadmissible as being irrelevant to the case altogether, since Atul was not at the scene of the accident.
Benny Hur sues Oliver Kromwhale in tort after Kromwhale, driving recklessly, slammed into Hur’s car on the driver’s side. Hur suffered a compound fracture of the left femur. Apparently, before the accident, Kromwhale was in a bloody rage because his wife refused to let him go to the Neil Diamond concert until Kromwhale did the dishes. Kromwhale refused to do the dishes and left for the concert without Mrs. Kromwhale’s permission, hitting Hur along the way. Both Kromwhale and his wife met with his attorney at a big law office. The attorney’s paralegal took notes about the accident and the surrounding circumstances. Oliver told the story about how uncontrollably angry he had been prior to the accident. During the interim between discovery and trial, the paralegal left the law firm. Hur’s attorney calls the paralegal to the stand at trial to testify as to what Oliver said regarding his rage. Oliver’s attorney objects. The court will hold:
Choice 1 The paralegal’s testimony is inadmissible because it is not reliable, since the paralegal has left the firm.
Choice 2 The paralegal’s testimony is inadmissible, because the attorney-client privilege prevents her from disclosing confidential communications.
Choice 3 The testimony is admissible, because the paralegal’s presence destroyed the confidentiality.
Choice 4 The testimony is admissible, because it is irrelevant in terms of getting to the real truth of whether Oliver was negligent in crashing into Hur.
. Mrs. Gruenbaum arrived at her lawyer’s office about an hour before her scheduled appointment, hoping that Attorney Spielkiss would be free to meet with her earlier. Mrs. Gruenbaum was worried that she wouldn’t get home in time to heat up her husband’s meat sauce, which she prepares every Thursday – her husband has no clue how to operate the stove or their microwave. As the hour passes, Mrs. Gruenbaum gets more and more fidgety. Other clients stream into the waiting room, and some are attended to before Mrs. Gruenbaum, even though she arrived first. Attorney Spielkiss comes out of his office about five minutes after his appointment with Mrs. Gruenbaum was scheduled, and Mrs. Gruenbaum is in a tizzy. She screams, in front of everyone in the office, “Spielkiss – where’ve you been? I’ve been waitin’ over an hour fer ya. We got a lot to tawk about. The @##!!***** government’s on my back about payin’ taxes on that sale I made to Sotheby’s. Hah Hah! They’ll never find out where I stashed the proceeds, the crooks! They think they can bankrupt me --- well, they’re wrong, right? Right? Honey, you look like you need a vacation. I heard Boca’s a beauty this time of the year. Did you eat any fruit today? You need vitamin C. What did your mother, may she rest in peace, say about your eating habits? She’s probably having another fatal heart attack right now, watching you waste away from above.”

If a government attorney wanted to subpoena one of the witnesses to Mrs. Gruenbaum’s fit in Spielkiss’s office, would Mrs. Gruenbaum be entitled to invoke the attorney-client privilege?

Choice 1 Yes, because she was communicating with her attorney for the purpose of obtaining legal advice.
Choice 2 No, because the presence of third parties breaks the privilege.
Choice 3 No, because Mrs. Gruenbaum was not seeking legal advice in this context.
Choice 4 No, because Mrs. Gruenbaum is not in this case the holder of the privilege.
Mrs. O’Leary met with her attorney, Bessie Cowherd, regarding her insurance policy. The O’Leary home was set ablaze the prior week when Mrs. O’Leary fell asleep with a lighted Cuban cigar dangling from her mouth. Dropping the cigar from her mouth while dreaming of hot apple pie a la mode, Mrs. O’Leary accidentally set the bedroom curtains on fire. The curtains then set the carpeting on fire, at which point the fire spread and the whole house started to burn. Fortunately, everyone in the house escaped safely. However, the O’Leary family lost many precious belongings. Mrs. O’Leary asked Attorney Cowherd what strategy to use to make the insurance company believe her belongings were worth millions, even though the bluebook value of the house’s contents was about $10,000. Attorney Cowherd would not answer Mrs. O’Leary’s question, and instead tried to change the topic to hot apple pie a la mode, on which Mrs. O’Leary gladly focused her attention. Mrs. O’Leary was later prosecuted for insurance fraud. Could Attorney Cowherd be required by the government to answer a question regarding Mrs. O’Leary’s quest for advice on how to obtain millions in insurance proceeds?
Choice 1 No, Attorney Cowherd gleaned the information from a confidential discussion related to the provision of legal advice.
Choice 2 Yes, Attorney Cowherd could be required to answer, but only if she does not represent Mrs. O’Leary in the government’s investigation.
Choice 3 Yes, Attorney Cowherd could be required to answer, because the communication is excepted from the realm of attorney-client privilege.
Choice 4 Yes, Attorney Cowherd could be required to answer, if the presiding judge feels that Mrs. O’Leary was trying to “pull a fast one” on the insurance company.
Kat Lincoln met with an attorney she had never worked with before, Neuman Fisch, regarding an estate plan. Kat wanted to minimize her estate tax liability with irrevocable trusts, and Neuman was reputed to be one of the best planners in the county. He had apparently done some estate planning for members of the Gates family, heirs to Bill Gates’s Microsoft billions, and obviously knew what he was doing. A few months after their meeting, and after Neuman had diligently prepared a foolproof estate plan, Kat’s legal bill came due. She figured it wouldn’t matter if she paid later. So Kat sat on it for a while, though Neuman kept sending past due notices. Soon a collection agency started calling at dinnertime about the legal bill. Kat figured she’d pay sometime down the road, but not yet. So Neuman decided to sue. Kat’s new attorney, on behalf of Kat, invoked the attorney-client privilege when Neuman tried to introduce testimony about the Kat-Neuman attorney-client relationship. What will a court hold?.
Choice 1 The testimony is attorney-client privileged and inadmissible.
Choice 2 The testimony is excepted from the attorney-client privilege and is thus admissible.
Choice 3 The testimony is irrelevant – a court doesn’t have to know what Kat and Neuman talked about. It only needs to know whether Kat owes Neuman for legal services rendered.
Choice 4 None of the above.
Moses Pipik sought the assistance of Sarah Adveisberg on an initial public offering for his company, which specialized in the sale of freeze-dried cat food for astronauts who want to take their pets on trips to the International Space Station. Pipik found Wall Street to be very receptive to his idea. He got his feet off the ground with a fabulous amount of venture capital, and is sure the public would invest in his firm given its chance of success. So he hoped Sarah could help. Unfortunately, Sarah never did any initial public offerings, and only had experience in corporate document production for large litigation projects. So Pipik took his business elsewhere. If Sarah is compelled to divulge details about her meeting with Pipik, must she answer?
Choice 1 Yes, since she did not end up representing Pipik, there is an applicable exception to the attorney-client privilege.
Choice 2 Yes, since the discussion related to an initial public offering, which is clearly not confidential, because it is intended for the public good.
Choice 3 No, because Pipik may invoke the attorney-client privilege to protect against disclosure.
Choice 4 None of the above.
Danny Marino, a quarterback on the Clarksburg Huns, decided (perhaps thoughtlessly) to play catch with a friend in a moving car opposite his, while the cars were speeding at 80 m.p.h. on the Jersey Turnpike. Danny tossed his football as hard as he could, hoping to hit his friend on the numbers. Unfortunately, Peter Boulez, driving his wife Dotty to a glockenspiel and marimba lesson, was caught in between and the football smashed into the passenger side window. Dotty suffered cuts and bruises to her face that required some plastic surgery to fix. Later in life, Dotty considered the accident a blessing, because the plastic surgeon made her look twenty years younger. But right after the accident she was in emotional and physical pain and sought to sue Danny and friend for all they had (which wasn’t much). Peter and Dotty went to a lawyer to discuss how to pursue a personal injury suit against Danny and Danny’s friend. They discussed, among other things, Dotty’s physical condition. At trial, Danny’s attorney calls Dotty’s lawyer to testify to Dotty’s physical condition during the time of their initial attorney-client meeting. The lawyer’s testimony is:

Choice 1 Admissible, because the presence of Peter at the attorney-client meeting destroyed confidentiality.
Choice 2 Admissible, because Dotty waived the attorney-client privilege when she filed the suit against Danny and friend.
Choice 3 Inadmissible, because Dotty’s expected invocation of the attorney-client privilege will serve to protect against disclosure.
Choice 4 None of the above.
Hilda Panth was on trial for tax evasion. She hired Lawra Seisin to represent her. While preparing for the case, Lawra hired an accountant to put together a financial statement for Lawra’s use during Hilda’s trial. The government sought this accountant’s testimony regarding Hilda’s finances. Hilda asks Lawra to object. What is the outcome?
Choice 1 The testimony is inadmissible due to the attorney-client privilege.
Choice 2 The testimony is inadmissible, if the government was already allowed access to all of Hilda’s financial records.
Choice 3 The testimony is inadmissible because it is irrelevant.
Choice 4 None of the above.
Bunny and Clythe were sitting on the grass by an access ramp off the parkway smoking a big fat joint that Clythe scored off of a friend named Reaper behind his college’s handball court. Bunny and Clythe were at the beginning of a beautiful friendship and they were enjoying a moment they would never forget – not because of their nice little marijuana picnic, but because suddenly an old Mercury Grand Marquis driven by Stan deManne sped up the access ramp and smacked into Clythe like a hockey player checking an opponent. Clythe writhed in pain, gasping for breath while Bunny sat and thought about the horror of it all in the hazy abstract. Stan deManne the next day retained (of all the lawyers in the county) the next-door neighbor of Bunny. Not knowing this, Bunny later went to her lawyer-next-door and asked him how she could avoid having to testify about smoking pot at the time Clythe was hit. May the lawyer call Bunny to the stand to testify about what she asked him?
Choice 1 No, because Bunny’s drug use has nothing to do with the case.
Choice 2 No, because Bunny sought advice from the lawyer and thus enjoys the protections of the attorney-client privilege.
Choice 3 Yes, because Bunny may not invoke the attorney-client privilege.
Choice 4 None of the above.
Ben Frankland suffered injuries when he slipped on slimy eggs that had cracked open onto a supermarket floor. He accidentally wore his reading glasses instead of his bifocals, and couldn’t see properly. Frankland sued the supermarket to recover for his injuries and time away from his work as a diplomat, scientist, postmaster general, and celebrated internet smut magazine publisher. Frankland’s attorney hired a physician to examine Frankland in order to help the attorney prepare the personal injury case. The adversary wants to call the physician to the stand at trial in order to ask about statements Frankland made to the physician about his injuries, which the physician in turn reported to Frankland’s attorney. The physician’s testimony is:
Choice 1 Admissible, because Frankland waived his right to claim the physician-patient privilege.
Choice 2 Inadmissible, because Frankland’s statements to the physician are protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Choice 3 Admissible, because Frankland’s statements are admissions of fault.
Choice 4 None of the above.
Successful corporate lawyer Mumford Karl was sued by the IRS for nonpayment of taxes. The IRS demanded that Mumford turn over papers relating to his client’s billings. The IRS asserted that they needed to study the documents to determine Mumford’s income. Mumford refused to hand over the documents. The documents will be:
Choice 1 Inadmissible, because they are attorney work product.
Choice 2 Inadmissible, because they are attorney-client privileged .
Choice 3 Admissible, because they are not privileged communications.
Choice 4 None of the above.
Perry worked in the county courthouse for years. Everyone he knew called him “Perry Mason,” just like the famous television lawyer. Perry was a wise old man, and used to “hold court” (as he liked to call it) on his porch late at night for friends and neighbors who wanted company, good cheer and some cold beer. One night, a neighbor named Bucky came by and told Perry in confidence, “Counselor, I could use some counseling. I was in a drunken daze and I did something stupid. I robbed the corner 7-11. There was a heck of a lot of cash in the register! I went and used it to buy a used car I had my eye on for some time. What should I do?” Perry was able to avoid the topic, and the other neighbors came streaming in as usual. A week later a federal prosecutor called Perry and asked questions about what Bucky had told him. Bucky didn’t realize it, but Perry was not a lawyer – Bucky and most everyone on the block assumed Perry was a lawyer, after all his years in the courthouse – but he wasn’t. Nonetheless, may Bucky assert the attorney-client privilege in trying to suppress Perry’s future testimony?
Choice 1 Yes, if Bucky reasonably believed that Perry was an attorney.
Choice 2 Yes, because Bucky spoke with Perry in confidence.
Choice 3 No, because Perry was not an attorney.
Choice 4 None of the above.
At a lavish dinner party for B-movie personalities, TV commercial actors, and local-station sports broadcasters, Oren Thall, with tears in his eyes, opens up to the stranger next to him and admits, “I killed my wife!! I strangled her with minty dental floss and then hacked her with a steak knife!! I feel really bad about that.” It just so happens that the stranger was a lawyer. At Thall’s murder trial, the state calls the stranger to testify as to Thall’s admission. Thall asserts the attorney-client privilege. What would a judge hold?
Choice 1 The privilege is applicable because the stranger turned out to be an attorney.
Choice 2 The privilege is applicable because it was reasonable to assume the stranger could be a lawyer, given there are so many lawyers in America.
Choice 3 The privilege is inapplicable because Thall had no reason to assume the stranger was a lawyer.
Choice 4 None of the above.
A group of paparazzi hide in bushes, stalking TV action hero Soup Nuss. Two of the cameramen among the group hear Nuss talking to his lawyer about Nuss’s upcoming criminal trial defense on insurance fraud charges. The cameramen hear everything Nuss says to the attorney. At Nuss’s trial the cameramen are called to testify to the conversation. Nuss objects. What does the judge hold?
Choice 1 The testimony is inadmissible, because it involves confidential attorney-client communications.
Choice 2 The testimony is admissible, even though it involves confidential attorney-client communications.
Choice 3 The testimony is inadmissible because the paparazzi were hiding in the bushes.
Choice 4 None of the above.

A group of paparazzi hide in bushes, stalking TV action hero Soup Nuss. Two of the cameramen among the group hear Nuss talking to his lawyer about Nuss’s upcoming criminal trial defense on insurance fraud charges. The cameramen hear everything Nuss says to the attorney. At Nuss’s trial, knowing that the cameramen heard everything and would be entitled to testify as to what they heard anyway, the prosecutor calls Nuss’s attorney to the stand to describe what Nuss told him the night the paparazzi were hiding in the bushes. Nuss objects. What does the court hold?

Choice 1 The testimony is admissible, because the privilege was broken by the presence of third parties.
Choice 2 The testimony is inadmissible because it is attorney-client privileged.
Choice 3 The testimony is admissible if the attorney wants to testify.
Choice 4 None of the above.
Johnny drove a truck for the Cash Money company. One day, Johnny was a bit drunk at work, and smashed into an SUV while stopping off at Dunkin’ Donuts for some black coffee. The SUV owner sued Johnny and Cash Money, who were jointly represented by Attorney Claire Tin. Claire Tin’s paralegal was integral to the representation, and even though Johnny and Cash Money lost at trial, they put up a good fight. Cash Money then sues Johnny for indemnity to cover the amounts recovered by the SUV owner. If Cash Money calls Claire Tin’s paralegal to testify as to some of Johnny’s admissions during their preparation for the case against the SUV owner, will the attorney-client privilege apply?

Choice 1 Yes, because Johnny originally sought legal assistance from Claire and the paralegal was integral to the representation.
Choice 2 Yes, because Johnny made confidential communications to the paralegal, who assisted with his case against the SUV owner.
Choice 3 No, because the attorney-client privilege is not applicable to parties who engaged in joint consultations with an attorney and then sued one another.
Choice 4 None of the above.


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