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Spears v. Eappraiseit

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

December 2, 2014

FELTON A. SPEARS, JR., et al, Plaintiffs,
v.
FIRST AMERICAN EAPPRAISEIT, (a/k/a eAppraiseIT, LLC), Defendant

Decided: December 1, 2014.

Page 209

For FELTON A. SPEARS, JR., SIDNEY SCHOLL, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs: Joseph N. Kravec, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, FEINSTEIN DOYLE PAYNE & KRAVEC, LLC, Pittsburgh, PA.

For OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY, Respondent: Christopher A. Sterbenz, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY, Washington, DC.

Page 210

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court after this Court issued an order deferring plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Compliance with Subpoena Duces Tecum served on the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (" OCC" ) [ECF No. 1]. Upon review of the parties' supplemental memoranda summarizing their arguments regarding plaintiffs' Motion, this Court DENIES plaintiffs' Motion for the reasons stated below.

I. BACKGROUND

The relevant facts are as follows: on January 30, 2013, plaintiff served the OCC with a subpoena duces tecum seeking documents cited and summarized by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (" Senate PSI" ) in its 2011 report on the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Pl.s' Supp. Mem. in Support of Motion 1. These documents were provided under seal and without waiver of any privileges to the Senate PSI by the Office of Thrift Supervision (" OTS" )--which has since been succeeded by the OCC--pursuant to the Senate PSI's subpoena. OCC's Supp. Mem. 2-3. The OCC objected to the plaintiffs' subpoena and noted that many of the documents sought may be subject to various privileges. Id. at 3. After months of conferring between plaintiffs and the OCC, plaintiffs narrowed their search to " 15 specific Bates-stamped documents." Id. After OCC claimed that it could not locate the documents, plaintiffs filed a Motion to Compel Compliance with the subpoena on October 16, 2013, specifying that plaintiffs are only seeking the 15 Bates-stamped documents referenced by the Senate PSI report. Id. This Court deferred a decision on the motion and ordered an OCC representative to submit to a deposition so plaintiffs could determine what steps the OCC took to locate the documents. Id. at 3-4. The OCC later retrieved the 15 Bates-stamped documents from the Senate PSI. Id. at 4. After reviewing the documents, the OCC sent a letter to plaintiffs noting that the OCC was withholding three documents from plaintiffs based on claims of the attorney-client privilege, the attorney work product doctrine, and the deliberative process privilege. Id.

This Court again notes that the parties appear to be in contention over only a few documents even though the plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Compliance is directed towards a subpoena that requests a broad range of documents. See May 29, 2014 Mem. and Order 2. This Court addresses plaintiffs' Motion and the supplemental briefing as concerning only the three documents that the OCC withheld from the plaintiffs.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Attorney-Client Privilege

The attorney-client privilege is the " oldest of the privileges for confidential communications known to the common law." Upjohn Co. v. United States, 449 U.S. 383, 389, 101 S.Ct. 677, 66 L.Ed.2d 584 (1981). This privilege protects communications between client and attorney when the communication is for the purpose of securing an opinion on the law, legal advice or services, or assistance in a legal proceeding. In re Lindsey, 158 F.3d 1263, 1270, 332 U.S.App.D.C. 357 (D.C. Cir. ...


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