Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiff sued Defendant for firing him under false pretenses. Plaintiff filed a motion to compel disclosure of conversations between Plaintiff and Defendant’s counsel.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Decisions compelling disclosure of information otherwise protected by attorney-client privilege are not immediately reviewable under the collateral order doctrine.
The rule remains settled that most discovery orders are not final, and courts routinely dismiss appeals from orders granting or denying discovery.View Full Point of Law
Norman Carpenter (Plaintiff) sued Mohawk Industries, Inc. (Defendant), claiming he was fired under false pretenses after altering human resources that the company was employing undocumented immigrants. During discovery, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel disclosure of certain information which Defendant argued was protected under attorney-client privilege.
Is a decision ordering disclosure of information otherwise protected by attorney-client privilege immediately reviewable under the collateral order doctrine?
No, the decision is not immediately reviewable and the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.
Justice Thomas argues that the Court should not have applied the collateral order doctrine and instead made this judgment based on the applicability of 28 U.S.C. § 1291 alone.
The Court determined that granting the motion to compel disclosure did not qualify as an immediately appealable collateral order. The decision could adequately be reviewed and remanded as necessary after the final judgment of the proceeding; additionally the Defendant had other avenues for redress, including certification of an appeal through 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), a writ of mandamus, or defying the order at the expense of incurring sanctions before an appeal.