Today the Illinois Supreme Court granted the petition for leave to appeal of TDR client Westfield America, Inc. and its affiliates to review an important decision of the Illinois Appellate Court concerning waivers of the attorney-client privilege in Illinois. Westfield is a well-known owner and operator of high end shopping malls throughout the United States and abroad.
In August 2011, on appeal from a contempt order of the circuit court, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled that by discussing legal issues during the negotiation of a complex business transaction, Westfield and its co-defendants in subsequently filed litigation had waived the attorney-client privilege, not just with respect to those communications that Westfield shared with the other parties to the transaction, but with respect to all of Westfield’s confidential and undisclosed attorney-client privileged communications concerning the transaction.
In its petition for leave to appeal, TDR urged the Supreme Court to review the case on the grounds that it represented a significant departure from established precedent, both in Illinois and elsewhere, that it lacked reasoned policy support, and that it would have important negative consequences for Illinois attorneys and their clients. On November 30, 2011, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. The case is Center Partners v. Urban, Case No. 113107, consolidated with 113128).
TDR attorneys Gino L. DiVito, Karina Zabicki DeHayes, and Brian C. Haussmann have worked on the appeal for Westfield.