Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Asset Management Corp., Matter of, Nos. 85-5828

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore SEITZ, SLOVITER, Circuit Judges, and ROSENN; SEITZ
Citation805 F.2d 120
Decision Date13 November 1986
Docket Number85-5851,85-5829 and 85-5850,Nos. 85-5828
PartiesBankr. L. Rep. P 71,525, 22 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 52 In the Matter of BEVILL, BRESLER & SCHULMAN ASSET MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, Debtor-in-Possession. Appeal of John D. ROONEY. Appeal of Robert L. BEVILL. In re BEVILL, BRESLER AND SCHULMAN INC., Debtor. Appeal of John D. ROONEY. Appeal of Robert L. BEVILL.

Page 120

805 F.2d 120
Bankr. L. Rep. P 71,525, 22 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 52
In the Matter of BEVILL, BRESLER & SCHULMAN ASSET MANAGEMENT
CORPORATION, Debtor-in-Possession.
Appeal of John D. ROONEY.
Appeal of Robert L. BEVILL.
In re BEVILL, BRESLER AND SCHULMAN INC., Debtor.
Appeal of John D. ROONEY.
Appeal of Robert L. BEVILL.
Nos. 85-5828, 85-5851, 85-5829 and 85-5850.
United States Court of Appeals,
Third Circuit.
Argued Sept. 16, 1986.
Decided Nov. 13, 1986.

Page 121

Dominic F. Amorosa (argued), Dominic F. Amorosa, P.A., South Orange, N.J., for appellant, John D. Rooney.

Lawrence V. Senn, Jr., Audrey Strauss (argued), Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon, New York City, for appellant, Robert L. Bevill.

Jack M. Zackin (argued), Ravin, Greenberg & Zackin, P.A., Roseland, N.J., for appellee, Saul S. Cohen, Trustee of Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Asset Management Corp.

William H. Horton (argued), McCarter & English, Newark, N.J., for appellee, Richard W. Hill, Esq., Trustee under the Securities Investor Protection Act for the Liquidation of Bevill Bressler & Schulman, Inc.

Before SEITZ, SLOVITER, Circuit Judges, and ROSENN, Senior Circuit Judge.

OPINION OF THE COURT

SEITZ, Circuit Judge.

This appeal arises out of two related proceedings currently before the district court: the Chapter 11 reorganization of Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Asset Management Corporation (AMC), 11 U.S.C. Sec. 1101, and the liquidation of Bevill, Bresler & Schulman, Inc. (BBS) under the Security Investor Protection Act (SIPA), 15 U.S.C. Sec. 78aaa. Intervenors John D. Rooney and Robert L. Bevill, two principals of the corporations, appeal the order of the district court directing Gilbert Schulman, president of AMC, and Hellring, Lindeman, Goldstein, Siegal & Greenberg (Hellring, Lindeman), counsel for BBS, to respond to questions posed in depositions by the trustees for AMC and BBS. The order permits the trustees to discover the substance of certain meetings that took place between the law firm and the principals of the corporations before the Chapter 11 petition was filed. Because Rooney and Bevill allege that the district court's order violates their attorney-client privilege, we have jurisdiction under In re Grand Jury Proceedings, 604 F.2d 798 (3d Cir.1979) (FMC Corp.).

I.

We turn first to the facts as narrated by the district court. Gilbert Schulman first became aware that AMC was in financial difficulties on March 19, 1985, when Robert Bevill telephoned him in Greece. After talking again with Bevill on the following day, Schulman flew back to the United States. According to Schulman, he was unable to obtain any information about AMC until he consulted with Hellring, Lindeman on March 25, 1985.

Between March 25, 1985 and April 7, 1985, Schulman met with Hellring, Lindeman almost daily. Other principals of BBS and AMC, including Bevill and Rooney, were present at some of these meetings.

When Schulman first met with Hellring, Lindeman, he explained that he was seeking both personal and corporate legal advice. In his deposition, he testified that with regard to the March 26th meeting:

I stated to Mr. Hellring and Mr. Goldstein that I had arranged for Mr. Bevill to come down and meet them and at that point I had said to them that "Possibly you will represent me, possibly you will

Page 122

represent Mr. Bevill and me, possibly you will represent the firms," but I was definitely seeking personal legal advice at that time.

On March 31, 1985, Hellring, Lindeman was retained to represent BBS. In addition, it continued to consider whether it would represent the principals of BBS. On April 4, 1985, Hellring, Lindeman informed the principals that they should obtain separate counsel.

On April 7, 1985, AMC filed a petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. A trustee was subsequently appointed by the district court. On April 8, the SEC filed a civil complaint in the district court alleging fraud against AMC, BBS, and the principals of the corporations, including appellants. In addition, the SEC began a criminal investigation, and there is currently a grand jury investigation into the affairs of the two corporations. On May 8, the district court placed BBS under a SIPA receivership and the SIPA trustee commenced a liquidation proceeding.

On May 13, 1985, the counsel for the AMC trustee began to depose Schulman. By the consent of the parties, this deposition was conducted as a joint proceeding in the AMC Chapter 11 proceeding, the BBS SIPA liquidation, and the SEC proceeding. The AMC trustee sought to depose Schulman as to the substantive communications between Hellring, Lindeman and the principals, and indicated that the trustee had waived AMC's attorney-client privilege. Schulman's counsel instructed Schulman not to answer the questions. Counsel for the other principals also instructed Schulman not to respond, asserting the existence of a joint defense privilege.

On May 21, 1985, the deposition of Schulman resumed, and the AMC trustee began questioning Schulman about the circumstances surrounding the meetings with counsel, including the dates of the meetings, who was present, and whether the discussions involved personal or corporate matters. Once again, counsel for the other principals objected on the grounds of a joint defense privilege.

The AMC and BBS trustees and the SEC subsequently filed motions with the district court for an order directing the principals and Hellring Lindeman to respond to a series of questions as to the circumstances surrounding the meetings. In opposition to these motions, Rooney filed an unsworn affirmation with the district court stating that he met with counsel for personal advice and with the expectation that the communications would be confidential. He further stated that he would not have met with counsel without the assurance of confidentiality.

After a hearing, the district court ordered Bevill, Rooney, Schulman, Robert Levine, another principal, and Hellring, Lindeman to answer written interrogatories about the scope of counsel's representation. Bevill and Rooney refused to answer the interrogatories on the ground of the fifth amendment. Schulman stated that he attended all meetings except the March 31st meeting for the purpose of securing personal legal advice. Levine concurred in this statement, and also stated that the participants in the meetings were engaged in a joint defense effort. Schulman, however, has asserted in a letter to the BBS trustee from his counsel that he was never part of a joint defense.

Hellring, Lindeman confirmed in their answers to the interrogatories that the principals had sought both personal and corporate legal advice at the meetings that occurred from March 25th through April 4th. In a letter to the BBS trustee, it further explained its understanding of its representation:

Our firm was initially consulted on Monday, March 25, 1985. On that date and during the week of March 25, 1985 we were consulted by officials of Bevill, Bresler & Schulman, Inc. on a confidential and privileged basis for the purpose of personal representation as well as corporate representation of Bevill, Bresler & Schulman, Inc. and other companies.

We were not retained until Sunday, March 31, 1985 on which date we agreed to represent Bevill, Bresler & Schulman,

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Inc., the broker/dealer and its affiliated broker/dealer companies and to consider further the matter of representation for the individuals and other corporations.

During the next few days we continued to be consulted by officials of Bevill, Bresler & Schulman, Inc. on a confidential and privileged basis for purposes of personal representation and to consider the need therefor.

Within a few days of March 31, 1985 we advised each individual official to retain...

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174 practice notes
  • United States v. Cohen, CRIMINAL NO.: WDQ-14-0310
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • May 7, 2015
    ...has been dispelled, some courts rely on the test announced by the Third Circuit in In re Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Asset Mgmt. Corp., 805 F.2d 120 (3d Cir. 1986). In re Bevill enumerates factors: First, they must show they approached [counsel] for the purpose of seeking legal advice. S......
  • Grand Jury Subpoenas, In re, No. 97-3120
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • May 15, 1998
    ...States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 119 F.3d 210, 215 (2d Cir.1997); In re Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Asset Management Corp., 805 F.2d 120, 124 (3d Cir.1986); see also Weintraub, 471 U.S. at 348-49, 105 S.Ct. 1986; Upjohn Co. v. United States, 449 U.S. 383, 394-95, 101 S.Ct. 677,......
  • U.S. v. Norris, Criminal Action No. 03–632.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • November 30, 2010
    ...within the company or the general affairs of the company.Id. at 637–38 (quoting In re Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Asset Mgmt. Corp., 805 F.2d 120, 124–25 (3d Cir.1986)). The Court concluded Defendant, a former CEO of Morgan, did not meet this burden: Defendant has not satisfied [the Cour......
  • Boyd v. Comdata Network, Inc.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • April 30, 2002
    ...to set up a common legal strategy. United States v. Schwimmer, 892 F.2d at 243; In re Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Asset Mgt. Corp., 805 F.2d 120, 126 (3d Cir.1986); Griffith v. Davis, 161 F.R.D. 687, 692 n. 6 (C.D.Cal.1995); Bass Pub., Ltd. v. Promus Companies, Inc., 868 F.Supp. 615, 621......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
174 cases
  • United States v. Cohen, CRIMINAL NO.: WDQ-14-0310
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • May 7, 2015
    ...has been dispelled, some courts rely on the test announced by the Third Circuit in In re Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Asset Mgmt. Corp., 805 F.2d 120 (3d Cir. 1986). In re Bevill enumerates factors: First, they must show they approached [counsel] for the purpose of seeking legal advice. S......
  • Grand Jury Subpoenas, In re, No. 97-3120
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • May 15, 1998
    ...States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 119 F.3d 210, 215 (2d Cir.1997); In re Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Asset Management Corp., 805 F.2d 120, 124 (3d Cir.1986); see also Weintraub, 471 U.S. at 348-49, 105 S.Ct. 1986; Upjohn Co. v. United States, 449 U.S. 383, 394-95, 101 S.Ct. 677,......
  • U.S. v. Norris, Criminal Action No. 03–632.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • November 30, 2010
    ...within the company or the general affairs of the company.Id. at 637–38 (quoting In re Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Asset Mgmt. Corp., 805 F.2d 120, 124–25 (3d Cir.1986)). The Court concluded Defendant, a former CEO of Morgan, did not meet this burden: Defendant has not satisfied [the Cour......
  • Boyd v. Comdata Network, Inc.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • April 30, 2002
    ...to set up a common legal strategy. United States v. Schwimmer, 892 F.2d at 243; In re Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Asset Mgt. Corp., 805 F.2d 120, 126 (3d Cir.1986); Griffith v. Davis, 161 F.R.D. 687, 692 n. 6 (C.D.Cal.1995); Bass Pub., Ltd. v. Promus Companies, Inc., 868 F.Supp. 615, 621......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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