American Journal of Law & Medicine

Attorney-Client Privileged Documents: Federal District Court Limits the Scope of Attorney-Client Privilege Granted Involving In-House Counsel

Attorney-Client Privileged Documents: Federal District Court Limits the Scope of Attorney-Client Privilege Granted Involving In-House Counsel--United States ex rel. Elin Baklid-Kunz v. Halifax Hospital Medical Center (1)--The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida upheld in part and denied in part the defendant's assertion of attorney-client privilege over documents submitted to the court. (2) The court granted the privilege narrowly only to documents that sought or reflected legal advice. (3)

Elin Baklid-Kunz ("Relator") worked at Halifax Medical Center ("Halifax"), (4) the largest healthcare provider in Central Florida, for over fifteen years as the Director of Physician Services prior to filing a qui tam False Claims Act action against Halifax in 2009. (5) The United States intervened on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on November 4, 2011. (6) The government alleged that Halifax Staffing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Halifax, paid compensation to ten physicians that "was not commercially reasonable, exceeded [fair market value], and/or took into account the volume or value of referrals or other business generated for the hospital." (7) Thus, the Relator and the government (together, the "Plaintiffs") requested damages for Halifax's violations of the False Claims Act (FCA), the Stark Amendment, and the Anti-Kickback Statute. …

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