Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Knopick v. Boyle

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

May 30, 2018

NICHOLAS KNOPICK Appellee
v.
DENNIS BOYLE AND BOYLE LITIGATION Appellant

          Appeal from the Order Entered December 29, 2016 In the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County Civil Division at No(s): 2014-06697

          BEFORE: GANTMAN, P.J., PANELLA, J., and FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E.

          OPINION

          GANTMAN, P.J.

         Dennis Boyle and Boyle Litigation (collectively "Appellant"), appeal from an interlocutory discovery order, entered in the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas Civil Division, which granted Appellee's motion to compel disclosure of certain electronic documents, over Appellant's objection that the documents are protected by the attorney-client privilege. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         The relevant facts and procedural history of this appeal are as follows. Appellee sued Appellant in 2014 for legal malpractice sounding in breach of contract, negligence, fraud, and conversion, based on allegations that Appellant comingled trust account funds with operating funds to pay firm expenses. During discovery in the present malpractice case, Appellee sent notice to a non-party, Donald Sherman, for a videotape deposition, along with a subpoena for certain documents from his personal email account.

[Mr.] Sherman is a former non-attorney employee of [Appellant]. One of his duties was to reconcile the attorney trust account. Sometime in November of 2012, Mr. Sherman became concerned about possible issues with the account. As a result, he created a list of those concerns and emailed them to himself. He used his personal email account to both send and receive the list. He eventually met with an attorney, who was not of Boyle Litigation. He also met with a second lawyer, who was employed by Boyle Litigation, on a later occasion.
During the deposition of Mr. Sherman, [Appellee] sought the November 2012 email memorializing the concerns regarding the trust account. [Appellant's] Attorney represented Mr. Sherman at the deposition. He took the position that the email was subject to attorney-client privilege. Thereafter, [Appellee] filed a Motion to Compel. After hearing argument, [the trial court was] satisfied that the email was not subject to attorney-client privilege. Consequently, [the trial court] ordered [Appellant] [on December 29, 2016, ] to produce it.[1]
[Appellant]'s concise statement of [errors] complained of on appeal alleges that [the trial court] erred in 1) holding that the email in question is not subject to the attorney-client privilege; 2) failing to perform an in-camera inspection of the email; and 3) ordering the production of a document that is the property of a non-party.

(Trial Court Opinion, filed March 22, 2017, at 1-2) (internal citations omitted).

Appellant raises the following issues for our review:
DID THE TRIAL COURT ERR AND INCORRECTLY INTERPRET/APPLY THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE BY ORDERING THE PRODUCTION OF NOTES THAT WERE PREPARED BY A CLIENT IN ANTICIPATION OF A MEETING WITH HIS ATTORNEY, CONTAINING THE ISSUES THE CLIENT WISHED TO DISCUSS WITH HIS ATTORNEY, SO THE CLIENT COULD RECOLLECT AND CONVEY THOSE ISSUES TO HIS ATTORNEY DURING THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT MEETING?
DID THE TRIAL COURT ERR BY HOLDING THAT THE NOTES IN QUESTION WERE NOT SUBJECT TO THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE WITHOUT FIRST ORDERING OR PERFORMING ANY INSPECTION OF THE NOTES, DESPITE A PARTY'S REQUEST FOR IN CAMERA INSPECTION OF THE NOTES?
DID THE TRIAL COURT ERR BY ORDERING THE PRODUCTION OF THE NOTES IN QUESTION DESPITE THE FACT THAT (A) [APPELLEE'S] MOTION TO COMPEL WAS DIRECTED TO AND SOUGHT RELIEF FROM ONLY [APPELLANTS], RATHER THAN NON-PARTY DONALD SHERMAN, AND (B) THE NOTES IN QUESTION WERE THE PROPERTY OF ONLY NON-PARTY SHERMAN?

(Appellant's Brief at 4).

         As a prefatory matter, Appellee has filed a motion to quash this appeal as interlocutory and unappealable. Specifically, Appellee contends (a)

         Appellant failed to make a colorable claim of attorney-client privilege, (b) Appellant does not own the privilege asserted, and (c) the subject ruling does not qualify for review under the collateral order doctrine. For these reasons, Appellee concludes this Court should quash the appeal. We disagree.

         In this regard, "[T]he appealability of an order directly implicates the jurisdiction of the court asked to review the order." In re Estate of Considine v. Wachovia Bank, 966 A.2d 1148, 1151 (Pa.Super. 2009). "Accordingly, this Court has the power to inquire at any time, sua sponte, whether an order is appealable." Id.; Stanton v. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.