In re McAleer

In re McAleer resulted in a per curiam order from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court because Justice Baer did not participate in the matter, leaving a 3-3 split on the main substantive issue at stake. Before reaching the main merits issue at stake, the six justices unanimously ruled that the Superior Court had immediate appellate jurisdiction to review the question of whether a privilege applied to a discovery request in the trial court. But the Supreme Court then came to a 3-3 split on the merits issue at stake:  May a trustee invoke the attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine when trying to shield details regarding legal expenses paid by the trust? Since the Supreme Court could not resolve that issue, the Superior Court’s analysis was adopted by operation of law. The Superior Court had ruled that the privilege and doctrine did not protect the beneficiaries’ requests for records regarding bills the trustee incurred for outside counsel.

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