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Lawyer and Client Each Fined $33,780 for Breach of Protective Order

October 2011
Practice: Professional Liability
Offices: Boston
People: Richard J. Rosensweig

On October 11, 20011, Judge Shira Scheindlin of New York's Southern District ordered Manhattan attorney Daniel Brecher and a former client to each pay a fine of $33,780 for turning over to a third party documents subject to a court protective order. The documents had been produced in a case against Enzo Biochem where Brecher represented the former client as plaintiff. After the original lawsuit terminated at summary judgment, Attorney Brecher gave a file containing copies of the protected documents to his former client. However, the former client was then funding litigation against Enzo Biochem by another plaintiff, who later used them in his case against Enzo Biochem. After a two-day hearing, Judge Scheindlin held that both Brecher and the former client were in civil contempt of court for noncompliance with the protective order. The two were also ordered to retrieve the confidential documents from the party to whom they were turned over. The determining issue, according to the decision, was that Brecher knew his former client was funding litigation by a third party and, although he indicated that there were confidential materials in the file that he turned over, he failed to instruct his former client to respect the terms of the protective order. The client claimed he did not know the file included confidential materials and an oral reminder from Brecher that certain materials were for his eyes only was enough to hold the client in contempt.

This blog entry was originally posted on Legal OnRamp.  Goulston & Storrs attorneys provide blogs, discussion forums, collaboration, and pertinent news and related key cases regarding attorney-client privilege and work product protection information for Legal OnRamp.

This information should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer concerning your situation and any specific legal questions you may have.

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