Whistleblowers gain access to internal investigation documents

In what's been called "an unsettling rejection of the attorney-client privilege," a federal district court judge ruled last month that documents pertaining to a government contractor's in-house fraud investigations weren't protected by attorney-client or attorney work-product privileges, JD Supra Business Advisor reported. The basis of the ruling was that the investigations occurred to comply with regulations and corporate policy rather than to obtain legal advice. In view of this decision, "companies should involve counsel in each step of internal investigations and expressly articulate and document the legal purpose of the investigation at every phase," the article advises. If upheld on appeal, this ruling may set "a dangerous precedent," JD Supra noted, and its effects may extend to publicly-traded companies and healthcare organizations. Article