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Nevada Rejects Fiduciary Exception To Attorney-Client Privilege

The fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege holds that a fiduciary, such as a trustee of a trust, is disabled from asserting the privilege against beneficiaries on matters of trust administration.  Nevada, like California, has codified the attorney-client privilege and five exceptions to that privilege. NRS 49.035 - 49.115.  A fiduciary exception is not among the five statutory exceptions.  

Yesterday, the Nevada Supreme Court declined to add a sixth exception to the five statutory exceptions.  Canarelli v. District Court, 136 Nev. Adv. Op. 29 (2020).  Citing the California Supreme Court's decision in Wells Fargo Bank v. Superior Court, 22 Cal. 4th 201, 91 Cal. Rptr. 2d 716, 990 P.2d 591 (2000), the Nevada Supreme Court asserts:

"Jurisdictions with statutory attorney-client privileges like Nevada have overwhelmingly refused to adopt the exception by judicial decree."

In states that have not codified the attorney-client privilege, judges may have more latitude in fashioning exceptions.  As the California Supreme Court noted:  "What courts in other jurisdictions give as common law privileges they may take away as exceptions."  22 Cal. 4th at 209, 91 Cal. Rptr. 2d at 722, 990 P.2d at 596.

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Nevada's Supreme Court Building

© 2010-2023 Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP National Law Review, Volume X, Number 150
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About this Author

Keith Paul Bishop, Corporate Transactions Lawyer, finance securities attorney, Allen Matkins Law Firm
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Keith Bishop works with privately held and publicly traded companies on federal and state corporate and securities transactions, compliance, and governance matters. He is highly-regarded for his in-depth knowledge of the distinctive corporate and regulatory requirements faced by corporations in the state of California.

While many law firms have a great deal of expertise in federal or Delaware corporate law, Keith’s specific focus on California corporate and securities law is uncommon. A former California state regulator of securities and financial institutions, Keith has decades of...

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