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Howell v. Joffe

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
483 F. Supp. 2d 659 (N.D. Ill. 2007)


Facts

Andrew Howell (plaintiff) accused William Joffe (defendant) of sexually abusing him when Joffe was a priest at St. Mary’s School (defendant). In April 2004, Ellen Lynch, an attorney for the Diocese (defendant), and Monsignor David Kagan, a representative of the Diocese, left Howell a voicemail message. After asking Howell to call her, Lynch and Kagan have a conversation in which they comment on Howell’s voice and how Howell compares to other people who have made allegations against the Diocese. Lynch had apparently failed to correctly hang up the receiver after leaving the voicemail for Howell and Lynch and Kagan’s conversation was recorded on Howell’s voicemail. Howell alleged that as a result of this voicemail he suffered severe emotional distress. Lynch and Kagan claimed the conversation was protected by attorney-client privilege and Lynch demanded that Howell return any copies of the conversation. Joffe moved for a declaration that the conversation was protected by attorney-client privilege, that any recordings of the conversation be returned, and that Howell be prevented from referring to or relying on the conversations in the litigation.

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Holding and Reasoning (Bucklo, J.)

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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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