The Court of Appeals held, however, that Ruehle's assertion of attorney-client privilege to the communications failed. The court repeated its version of the standard attorney-client privilege definition as follows:
(1) Where legal advice of any kind is sought (2) from a professional legal adviser in his capacity as such, (3) the communications relating to that purpose, (4) made in confidence (5) by the client, (6) are at his instance permanently protected (7) from disclosure by himself or by the legal adviser, (8) unless the protection be waived.The party asserting the privilege must prove the existence of each element. Here, Ruehle failed to meed the fourth element -- that the communication be made in confidence. Ruehle understood that the fruits of the investigation would be made available to the accountants.
The salient point from a privilege perspective is that Ruehle readily admits his understanding that all factual information would be communicated to third parties, which undermines his claim of confidentiality to support invoking the privilege. Ruehle's subjective shock and surprise about the subsequent usage of the information he knew would be disclosed to third-party auditors--e.g., information subsequently shared with securities regulators and the Justice Department now used to support a criminal investigation and his prosecution--is frankly of no consequence here.These issues of course arise in entity investigations arising from tax cases. Upjohn itself was a tax case, and the issue has arisen in other tax cases (e.g., the KPMG prosecution).