Superior Court Affirms Fiduciary Exception to Attorney-Client Privilege

The Superior Court has followed the plurality opinion in In re Estate of McAleer, 248 A.3d 416 (Pa. 2021), and held that the “fiduciary exception” to the attorney-client privilege and attorney work product doctrine is not contrary to the law in Pennsylvania, affirming an order of the Orphans’ Court compelling discovery of documents related to the legal services performed by counsel to trustees. In re: Trust Established under Agreement of Sarah Mellon Scaife, Deceased, Dated May 9, 1963, 276 A.3d 776, 2022 PA Super 93 (5/23/2022), app. den., 169 WAL 2022 (1/24/2023).

There were three appeals from the discovery order and the Superior Court released three opinions which appear to be identical in substance, but with different docket numbers and naming different appellants. The appeal of PNC Bank as corporate trustee (722 WDA 2021) was published as 2022 PA Super 93. The opinions related to the appeals of the individual trustees (696 WDA 2021) and counsel to the trustees (697 WDA 2021) were released as non-precedential.

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