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Attorney-Client Privilege Is a Long-Acknowledged Exception to Public Record Requests

In the case of State ex rel. Ames v. Baker, Dublikar, Beck, Wiley & Mathews, Slip Opinion No. 2023-Ohio-2668, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the requestor’s public record request was properly responded to when the law firm gave redacted invoices for services provided for the public office because parts of the invoices were protected by attorney-client privilege.

In this case, the requestor argued that the documents as redacted made it impossible to determine whether the firm billed for a reasonable number of hours. In response, the law firm argued that the redacted portions of the invoice were the narrative portions, which are protected by attorney-client privilege. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with the law firm.

In support of its decision in favor of the law firm, the Ohio Supreme Court explained that the question before the court was whether the information was privileged, not whether the hours billed were reasonable. The Ohio Supreme Court further explained that narrative portions of legal invoices have long been recognized as protected under attorney-client privilege.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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