Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Upholds Right to Immediate Appeals of Claims of Privilege

In the case of Commonwealth v. Harris, 8 EAP 2009 (Pa. Nov. 23, 2011)(Opinion by McCaffery, J.), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that trial court orders overruling claims of privilege and requiring disclosure of privileged and confidential materials are immediately appealable.

The disclosures at issue in this capital criminal court case revolved around the psychiatrist/client privilege as well as the attorney client privilege.

The implication in the civil litigation arena is that claims of privilege against the disclosure of requested discovery will still be deemed immediately appealable under the collateral order rule found at Pa.R.A.P. 313.

The majority Opinion can be reviewed here.

Justice Saylor's concurring Opinion can be reviewed here.

Source:  Article "Pennsylvania High Court Allows Immediate Privilege Appeals" by Ben Present in the December 13, 2011 Legal Intelligencer.

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