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In re Kellogg Brown & Root Inc., et al., Petitioners on writ of Mandamus

756 F.3d 754 (D.C. Cir. 2014)

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In re Kellogg Brown & Root Inc., et al., Petitioners on writ of Mandamus

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

756 F.3d 754 (D.C. Cir. 2014)

Facts

Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) (defendant), a defense contractor, employed Harry Barko (plaintiff). Barko filed a False Claims Act complaint against KBR, alleging that KBR and some of its subcontractors defrauded the government through misconduct such as inflating costs and receiving kickbacks. Previously, KBR’s law department had conducted an internal investigation related to the alleged fraud per its code of business conduct. Barko sought the disclosure of documents related to this investigation. KBR claimed the documents were protected by attorney-client privilege because the purpose of the investigation was to obtain legal advice. Barko claimed the documents were unprotected business records. The district court refused to apply attorney-client privilege to the documents because the investigation was due to regulatory law and corporate policy, rather than for the sole purpose of obtaining legal advice. KBR asked for permission to make an interlocutory appeal and to stay its order for disclosure. The district court denied the request and ordered production of the documents from KBR to Barko. KBR filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kavanaugh, J.)

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