ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE - BRANNON V. BANKTRUST, INC.
In Brannon v. BankTrust, Inc. [Ms. 1060637] __ So. 3d. __ (Ala. 2010), Brannon was appointed as executrix of a decedent's estate and hired attorney Douglas McCoy to assist her in the administration of the estate. McCoy advised Brannon to open an estate account at BankTrust. Subsequently, McCoy allegedly made eight unauthorized transfers out of the estate account totaling $240,185.19. Brannon requested that BankTrust credit the account for the allegedly unauthorized transfers. BankTrust refused, and Brannon filed suit. BankTrust eventually filed a notice of intent to file a non-party subpoena to McCoy's law firm. Brannon objected, asserting the attorney-client privilege, and the non-party subpoena was quashed by the trial court. Brannon then filed a motion for partial summary judgment on her breach of contract claim, which was granted, with damages entered in the amount of $294,552.37. BankTrust appealed. On appeal, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed the grant of summary judgment for Brannon, stating that "when an attorney is the client's agent in regard to a transaction with a third party, the fact of the attorney's employment, the authority of the attorney, instructions given to the attorney, and the attorney's communications to the client in the course of executing his or her duties constitute part of the res gestae of the transaction and would not be privileged information."