January 15, 2009

Why Certiorari?

Attorney-client privilege is the right of clients to refuse to disclose confidential communications with their lawyers to third parties. This privilege is fundamental to preserve the right to effective legal counsel. Lawyers cannot function effectively on behalf of their clients without the ability to communicate with them in confidence.

With that said, as an appellate attorney, I was successful in overturning a trial court’s decision denying a protective order—preventing the disclosure of attorney client communication.[1] In a case, where a son was suing his mother, we filed a Writ of Certiorari on a discovery issue—a litigation process during which each party requests relevant information and documents from the other side in an attempt to “discover” pertinent facts. The information the son was seeking from the mother, I believed to be attorney-client privilege.

By filing for a Writ of Certiorari, often referred to as a Writ of Cert, I swiftly completed a petition explaining to the appellate court the reasoning that the trial court’s interlocutory order needed to be reversed. After evaluating the petition the appellate court decides whether or not to grant a show cause order to the opposing party. If the court issues a show cause order the opposing party answers the petition. In this particular case the court issued a show cause order and the reply was submitted by the opposing parties’ council.

In less than two months the appellate agreed with our position and the Writ of Cert I filed was granted; and the trial courts decision denying the protective order was overturned. Had we not petitioned the appellate court with the Writ of Cert, the opposing party would have access to privileged information. Thus, I was able to prevent letting the proverbial cat out of the bag.

Robin Bresky, Bresky Law

[1] A large part of my practice is drafting pre-trial litigation as well as appellate briefs. Please note, in the case stated above, I was hired as a ghostwriter for another attorney who sought my services, because of my extensive knowledge on appellate law. In addition to my own clients, I offer litigation support to other attorneys that seek my expertise.