Monday, December 8, 2014

Attorney Lance Cooper seeks privileged King & Spalding GM ignition related docs under crime-fraud exception

Valukas paintbrush.

Plaintiffs suing General Motors claiming the carmaker covered up evidence of a faulty ignition switch they blame for their daughter's death want GM's lawyers at King & Spalding to hand over confidential internal notes and memos about the case....Cooper, the plaintiffs' lawyer, said he knows his request is unusual, and that he is asking for information that he normally would not request. But he believes his demand is justified by what he views as a decade-long corporate cover-up of a deadly defect, and that correcting the faulty ignition switch earlier could have saved Brooke Melton's life. He's basing his subpoena on the "crime fraud exception" to attorney-client privilege and work product protection....In making his case, Cooper is taking aim at what has become known as "the Valukas Report," a 325-page document produced by attorney Anton Valukas of Jenner & Block in Chicago, hired by GM to investigate the handling of the ignition switch defect. Cooper isn't buying Valukas' conclusion that the company's leadership did not participate in a cover-up, calling it a "whitewash."...Cooper said the Valukas report "ostensibly pulls no punches," he added, "what the report does not do, however, is find any evidence of bad faith, collusion, callousness, or malice in anything GM did or did not do."
Daily Report Online article

Question: If GM's ten-year coverup is fair game for crime-fraud exception to privilege, isn't Toyota's electronics-induced SUA coverup also fair game?