U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

Case Status


Docket Number



Case Updates

D.C. Circuit Court strengthens attorney-client privilege for internal investigation documents

June 27, 2014

The D.C. Circuit granted KBR’s petition for writ of mandamus and reversed the district court’s order, holding that the documents were protected by the attorney-client privilege. In the opinion, the court quoted the Chamber’s brief and recognized the fact that because the Chamber had filed an amicus brief, it helped explain why a writ of mandamus was warranted in this case.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

March 19, 2014

In the coalition brief, the U.S. Chamber asked the D.C. Circuit Court to grant the petition for writ of mandamus to compel the District Court to vacate an order compelling the production of documents, which are protected by the attorney-client privilege and the work-product doctrine. The Chamber argued that if permitted to stand, the District Court’s unprecedented decision threatens already well-settled rules governing internal corporate investigations, thereby diminishing the attorney-client privilege and harming the effectiveness of companies’ internal compliance programs and the federal regulatory regimes that require or encourage them. The brief noted that by holding that internal communications are protected by the attorney-client privilege only if the sole purpose of those communications is to seek legal advice, the District Court’s decision will erode attorney-client privilege and negatively affect how companies conduct corporate internal compliance programs, especially those required or strongly encouraged by federal regulatory regimes. Finally, the brief also highlighted how the loss of attorney-client privilege will undermine the role that in-house counsel serve and how this diminishment will detrimentally effect companies and the public interest more broadly.

The Chamber filed the brief jointly with the National Association of Manufacturers, Coalition for Government Procurement, American Forest & Paper Association, and the Association of Corporate Counsel.

Carl Nichols, Elisabeth Cook, Leah Litman and Adam Klein of WilmerHale represented the Chamber as co-counsel to the National Chamber Litigation Center.

Case Documents