Key ruling strengthens attorney-client privilege when ‘experts’ involved
AUSTIN, Texas – Lawyers with Hicks Thomas LLP obtained another significant decision from the Supreme Court of Texas, this time for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) in a ruling that reaffirms the importance of attorney-client privilege.
The high court ruled Feb. 15 that lawyer-client confidentiality applied to communications between an employee of TWIA and its counsel when the employee was serving as an expert witness for the company. The dispute involved efforts by the city of Dickinson to obtain emails between counsel and the employee regarding the employee’s affidavit offering expert testimony.
“This is a big win that carries major significance beyond this case,” said Hicks Thomas lawyer Jay Old, who argued before the Supreme Court. “The ruling strengthens protections for lawyer-client privilege and applies to virtually every lawsuit in Texas involving a party who is also a subject matter expert. That includes company employees and executives in all kinds of industries.”
The case is In re: City of Dickinson, case number 17-0020, in the Supreme Court of Texas.
The TWIA ruling came just a few weeks after Hicks Thomas obtained another unanimous decision from the Supreme Court. On Jan. 25, the court reversed a lower appellate court ruling that threw out a multimillion-dollar jury verdict the firm obtained at trial.
That case, too, involved expert witnesses. The Supreme Court found that the appeals court was mistaken in discounting the opinion of a highly qualified expert who testified for the firm’s client in Windrum v. Kareh, holding that an appellate court cannot substitute its view of the facts for the jury’s when that verdict is supported by competent expert testimony.
“These talented lawyers demonstrated their skill at the trial level and proved their points on appeal,” said Hicks Thomas founder John B. Thomas. “We are grateful to our clients for trusting us through the entire court process.”
Founded in 1997, Texas-based Hicks Thomas LLP is a premier litigation firm representing plaintiffs and defendants across the nation with offices in Houston, Austin, Beaumont and Amarillo, Texas, and Sacramento, California. The firm provides in-depth experience in cases involving oil and gas, environmental, complex commercial, toxic tort, construction, products liability, corporate governance, securities, banking, insurance coverage, transportation, trade secrets and business litigation. Visit the firm at http://www.hicks-thomas.com.