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GC’s Inactive Status Doesn’t Nix Attorney-Client Privilege, Judge Says

Posted Jan 6, 2011 12:22 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Gucci America may assert attorney-client privilege for communications with a top in-house lawyer who had taken inactive status, a federal judge had ruled.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin of Manhattan said Gucci was entitled to assert the privilege based on its reasonable belief that Jonathan Moss was in fact a lawyer, the New York Law Journal reports. "To require businesses to continually check whether their in-house counsel have maintained active membership in bar associations before confiding in them simply does not make sense,” she wrote (document posted by Law.com).

Scheindlin set aside a magistrate’s finding that Gucci’s documents were not protected from disclosure in a trademark infringement suit it has filed against Guess.

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