(Reuters) – In an attraction over legislation agency Buckley’s efforts to shield its communications with Latham & Watkins in an insurance coverage protection dispute, Oxford Insurance coverage Co argued this week that Buckley’s place would dangerously develop the scope of attorney-client privilege.
Oxford has been locked in litigation with Buckley over a $6 million insurance coverage declare the legislation agency filed below a lack of key worker coverage after its former chief Andrew Sandler left the agency in 2018.
Oxford argues it would not have to cowl the declare as a result of Buckley failed to disclose that Sandler was being investigated for alleged misconduct when he departed the agency. It’s now looking for records from Buckley’s inside investigation, which was carried out by Latham.
Buckley mentioned its records are lined by attorney-client privilege, however in a filing Wednesday to the North Carolina Supreme Court docket, Oxford mentioned Buckley’s argument would make “all materials” in an investigation privileged.
If Buckley’s place had been adopted, companies and different organizations would find a way to “‘launder’ communications on non-legal matters through outside counsel and thus prevent their disclosure in litigation,” Oxford mentioned in its transient.
Buckley has discovered allies within the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Affiliation of Company Counsel, which filed a joint amicus transient in assist of the legislation agency’s place in August. Oxford additionally pushed again in opposition to these teams Wednesday, arguing in a separate filing they’ve “no valid argument.”
A state enterprise court docket decide dominated final November that parts of Buckley’s communications with Latham have to be turned over to Oxford.
The allegations in opposition to Sandler haven’t been detailed within the litigation. Oxford, in its preliminary October 2019 criticism in opposition to Buckley, mentioned the allegations had been “significant enough” to warrant hiring Latham and to doubtlessly lead to Sandler’s termination.
Sandler, who’s now senior accomplice at Washington-based boutique Mitchell Sandler, didn’t reply to a request for remark. Attorneys representing Buckley and Oxford additionally didn’t reply to requests for remark.
The case is Buckley LLP v. Sequence 1 of Oxford Insurance coverage Co NC LLC, North Carolina Supreme Court docket, No. 219A21-1.
For Buckley: Mark Kinghorn of McGuireWoods
For Oxford Insurance coverage Co: James Cooney of Womble Bond Dickinson
David Thomas stories on the enterprise of legislation, together with legislation agency technique, hiring, mergers and litigation. He’s primarily based out of Chicago. He will be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.