Cases & Deals

City of Chicago wins reversal of district court ruling compelling non-party law firm to produce documents

Clients City of Chicago

In a case of first impression, Jones Day obtained for the City of Chicago the reversal of a district court ruling compelling a non-party law firm, which was never served with a discovery request, to produce documents from a prior client engagement. A former convict, who alleged in a federal civil rights suit against the City and others that he was tortured and framed for a crime, had made a discovery demand of the City for "police board" documents concerning proceedings against a detective. The District Court ordered the production of documents, including documents that the City's former counsel was holding under a claim of work-product privilege. On interlocutory appeal, Jones Day achieved reversal of the district court's order. In a case of first impression, the Seventh Circuit held that former counsel, which was never served with a nonparty subpoena or given notice by the City of the request for documents, did not accrue an obligation to assert a privilege claim in the civil rights litigation until it received the district court's discovery order.

Hobley v. Burge, 433 F.3d 946 (7th Cir. 2006)