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Attorney-Client privilege question???

Discussion in 'Civil Court, Procedure & Litigation' started by Cindy Nash, Feb 23, 2022.

  1. Cindy Nash

    Cindy Nash Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Good afternoon,

    I have a quick and perhaps simple question. Last fall a distant relative 'borrowed' my car without my permission and immediately wrecked it. Luckily no other car or individual was involved and no injuries. I did not contact the law, but now wish I would have.

    This is an antique vehicle that runs, but was in the middle of a restoration project and did not have current licensing nor insurance. Once the project was to be completed, I was going to get it licensed and insured.

    There is $4,000 of damage to the car with 3 estimates all within $100 of this figure and this distant relative refuses to pay. I've decided to sue and have interviewed some Attorneys. Haven't hired one yet but a Lawyer I did speak with (but didn't hire and won't hire) is known to have a big mouth.It's a small Western Iowa town with not a lot of choices

    Question is, since I spoke with this certain Attorney about the details of this case, is he bound by ethics to not divulge this information to any other parties? Is there "attorney-client privilege" in play here? Or do I have to worry that this Lawyer might tell others of my plan to sue.

    This was an initial free consultation, no money was exchanged, FYI

    thanks
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    What kind of car is this? Is it even worth $4,000?

    $4,000 is under the Iowa small claims limit of $6,500, so no attorney is needed (although, you can hire one if you wish). Please be aware that what you pay the attorney is not something you can recover from the other party.

    EDIT: The attorney isn't going to tell anyone that you plan to sue...but why do you care? If you're going to sue, sue.
     
    army judge likes this.
  3. Cindy Nash

    Cindy Nash Law Topic Starter New Member

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    What kind of car is it? Why is that an issue and what does that have to do with this question? But if that is all you can focus on, google what a 1947 Wyllis CJ2A Jeep is worth in restored condition.

    Yep, this would be small claims but I still want to retain an Attorney. that's my choice, not yours

    Again, question is, is consulting with an Attorney, even though free initial consultation, is that considered Attorney-Client privilege?
     
  4. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    That's a bit snippy...but ok.
    The problem you have is that your relative didn't crash a "1947 Willys CJ2A Jeep that was in restored condition". Your relative crashed a 1947 Willys CJ2A Jeep that was "in the middle of a restoration project", and THAT is the value that matters. Depending on the condition of the Jeep, it may be barely worth $4,000.

    Snippy again...for no reason. Retain an attorney or don't. I don't care.

    I already answered it above.

    You really need to take it down a notch, especially when asking strangers for freebies.
     
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  5. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    And yet...here you are. One is glad to be of service.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Generally what you reveal to an attorney during the initial free consultation is privileged communication.

    There are EXCEPTIONS, for example you bring along a friend who sits through the consultation.

    In that case, the communication MIGHT not be privileged.

    If, however, the person was not a friend BUT your spouse, the conversation is protected.

    If you, after saying hello, blurt out, "I'll be honest, Ms. Jones, I'm guilty of robbing the 7-11, raping the clerk, and killing him".

    To receive a definitive answer, as with most answers depends on the specific circumstances.




    Attorney-Client Privilege – Who’s the Client When a Business Is Involved?

    Maintaining the Privilege: A Refresher on Important Aspects of the Attorney-Client Privilege

    Attorney-Client Privilege – Who’s the Client When a Business Is Involved?

    https://www.iowacourts.gov/media/documents/061939_1_C75ADC6A76C2F.pdf
     
  7. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I agree that the value of these incomplete restoration is very important. It is unlikely you would recover more than the value immediately prior to the damage.
    Without a doubt, you will value the vehicle higher than a disinterested 3rd party. The value is quite subjective.
    It would make more sense to pursue this in small claims than to throw more money at an attorney that you won't get back. Also consider the ability of the other party to pay.

    No, it is unlikely that any attorney would have anything to say to anyone about it. It isn't clear what your concern is regarding privileged information.
     
  8. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    So...this "distant relative" STOLE your car. Why didn't you report it as stolen? Your failure to report it may make your claim that he/she didn't have permission less credible.

    For $4k, you'd probably be better off in small claims court without a lawyer. Whatever you spend on the lawyer will not be recoverable from the defendant.

    Yes (although this doesn't sound like the sort of case where the lawyer disclosing anything you told him would actually impair any lawsuit you might file). See Rule 32:1.6 of the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct.

    No. The attorney-client privilege is a rule of evidence that excludes from evidence confidential communications between lawyer and client (or the agents of either).

    You are under no obligation to worry.
     
  9. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    How so? How did this relative get the keys to your car? Get access to your car? Drive off before you knew it?

    There's permission and there's constructive permission.

    Why is that even an issue?

    And how, exactly, did your relative wreck the car? Did your relative cause the accident or did somebody else cause it?
     
  10. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I was avoiding the issue of "permissive use" because I'm not sure that it matters. Whether the guy borrowed the Jeep or "borrowed" the Jeep doesn't change his obligation to return it in (substantially) the same condition as it was received.
     
  11. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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  12. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Every attorney I've dealt with has checked their records for possible conflicts of interest prior to accepting a case.
     
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  13. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I was going to point out a few things when I received answers to my questions. But since no answers have been proffered, I sayeth not.
     
  14. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Seems like OP may have missed the "Iowa Nice" memo.
     
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  15. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    The below is from Zigner's post #12, which quotes something that doesn't appear to be from this thread.

    No, it's not. As I explained in post #8, the attorney-client privilege is a rule of evidence. It keeps confidential communications between lawyer and client out of evidence. It has nothing to do with the hypothetical situation described here.

    If, in fact, the defendant hired a lawyer with whom the plaintiff had consulted about the same case, and to whom the plaintiff had disclosed confidential information relating to the matter being litigated, then yes, that would be a conflict of interest that give the plaintiff grounds to seek to disqualify the defendant's attorney.

    That said, I agree with Zigner that any decent attorney will have a mechanism to check for conflicts and would not undertake this representation in the first place (although no conflict mechanism is foolproof and things do occasionally slip through).
     
  16. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    The items that show as having been from me were, in fact, from made by the user "toastyone". The post I quoted has, apparently, been deleted.
    (I'm just posting this as a clarification - I think you know it, but the quoting system is quirky.)
     
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  17. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Toastyone got TOASTED and TOSSED.
    The toastyone addressed you with rather vulgar insults.
    I discovered it's little hoax.
    You see, toastyone was created by it's alter ego who vanished about the time I became wise to her shenanigans and ruse.
     
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  18. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Who's the alter ego?
     

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