It’s obviously important to have skilled litigators in the trial court, but it’s sometimes just as important to have excellent appellate advocates on your side and ready to go at a moment’s notice. That’s one of the lessons from Wieck v. Tucker et. al, a legal malpractice case. In the trial court, the defendant lawyers argued that they were entitled to examine plaintiffs’ confidential communications with other lawyers under an exception to the attorney-client privilege. The trial court agreed with that argument and ordered the plaintiffs to turn over the communications in only 11 days. Although a lot of trial courts had made similar rulings in other cases, and despite the tight-frame, plaintiffs quickly moved the Oregon Supreme Court for an order to stay that ruling. The Oregon Supreme Court granted that stay and then issued a writ of mandamus that had been requested by plaintiffs, directing the trial court to reverse its order or show cause for not doing so. The trial court chose to reverse its order, denying the defendants’ their requested discovery, thus putting plaintiffs’ case quickly back on track. When choosing litigation counsel, always remember that you may need advocates who are prepared to appeal at a moment’s notice.
Richardson Wright's appellate extraordinaire, Zach Allen, handled the mandamus along with Kirc Emerson. Zach previously clerked at the Oregon Court of Appeals. Kirc has successfully argued for the preservation of the attorney-client privilege in malpractice cases.