Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire v. The New Hampshire Local Government CenterAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire (PFFNH) appealed a superior court order that ruled Defendant The New Hampshire Local Government Center (LGC), was not required to provide certain meeting minutes under the Right-to-Know Law. LGC produced the vast majority of the documents requested by PFFNH, but redacted certain portions under a claim of attorney-client privilege. Dissatisfied with the redacted records, PFFNH moved to compel LGC to produce the unredacted minutes of fourteen meetings that occurred between 2000 and 2009. PFFNH argued that the redacted portions should have been released because the oral communications of LGC’s counsel occurred during meetings that were open to the public under RSA chapter 91-A, thereby defeating any claim of privilege. The superior court disagreed and denied the motion to compel. "As the superior court observed, "the fact that the meeting occurs in a public place does not destroy the privilege, if no one hears the conversation." The Supreme Court concluded that LGC could have reasonably relied on the absence of public attendees to ask for the candid advice of counsel. Had members of the public been present, the conversation could have progressed differently. Thus, because no third persons were present at the meeting, LGC was not required to take any further precautions to ensure the communications were private.