In re: Grand Jury Matter #3, No. 15-2475 (3d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Company A was incorporated in Florida in 2008. Doe was its president and “sole proprietor,” but a November 2008 document purports to memorialize Doe’s sale of all shares of Company A to Company B for $10,000. Numerous filings and tax documents suggested that Doe maintained control and ownership of Company A after the transfer. Multiple individuals have sued Doe and his businesses in state courts around the country based on Doe’s business practices. Doe and the companies became the subjects of a federal grand jury. The government obtained access to Doe’s email. Doe filed an interlocutory appeal to prevent its disclosure. While the appeal was pending, the district court granted permission to present the email to the grand jury, finding that although the email was protected by the work product privilege, the crime-fraud exception to that doctrine applied; in 2016, the grand jury returned a 17-count indictment, charging conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. The Third Circuit dismissed the interlocutory appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The damage of disclosure has already been done. Should a jury convict the defendants, they will have another, equally adequate opportunity to claim privilege.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on January 27, 2017.