Henke v. Iowa Home Mutual Casualty Co.

Supreme Court of Iowa

87 N.W.2d 920 (Iowa 1958)

The attorney-client privilege does not prevent a lawyer representing two parties with mutual interests in a matter who receives a confidential communication from one party from sharing that communication with the other party if doing so protects the other party’s interests in the matter.

Relevant Facts

Henke (the plaintiff) lost two negligence cases and was liable for damages far more than his insurance policy would cover. In those cases, the plaintiff was represented by a law firm retained by his insurer, Iowa Home Mutual Casualty Company (the defendant). The insurer gave confidential information to the law firm, but not to the plaintiff. The plaintiff brought suit, alleging that the defendant acted in bad faith and was negligent in failing to settle the negligence cases. At trial, the plaintiff was granted discovery of the defendant’s communications with the law firm concerning the negligence cases by court order. The defendant appealed the discovery order to the Supreme Court of Iowa, arguing that those communications were protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

December 23, 2020

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Procedural History

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Citations

87 N.W.2d 920 (Iowa 1958)