Dale v. Frankel, 3:01 MC 5(EBB).

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
Citation206 F.Supp.2d 315
Decision Date28 August 2001
Docket NumberNo. 3:01 MC 5(EBB).,3:01 MC 5(EBB).
PartiesGeorge DALE et al. v. Martin FRANKEL et al.
206 F.Supp.2d 315
George DALE et al.
Martin FRANKEL et al.
No. 3:01 MC 5(EBB).
United States District Court, D. Connecticut.
August 28, 2001.

Douglas S. Skalka, Neubert, Pepe & Monteith, New Haven, CT, for plaintiff.

William M. Bloss, Jacobs, Grudberg, Belt & Dow, P.C., New Haven, CT, for movant.


BURNS, District Judge.

On January 3, 2001, non-party Mark C. Durkin filed a Motion to Quash Subpoena for Production served upon him with respect to an action pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, entitled George Dale v. Martin Frankel, No. 3:00 CV 359 LN ["Mississippi Action"], and his brief in support. (Dkts.## 1-2).1 Attorney Durkin has represented some of Frankel's corporations in Connecticut. Eighteen days later, plaintiffs filed their brief in opposition. (Dkt.# 3).2 Durkin filed his reply brief on

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February 8, 2001 (Dkt.# 8),3 and a supplemental reply brief on February 23, 2001 (Dkt.# 9), in which he indicated that Durkin's counsel had been instructed by Frankel's counsel that Frankel is not willing to waive any privilege that he may have with respect to these documents.

In addition, on January 24, 2001, plaintiffs filed the pending Cross-Motion to Compel (Dkts.## 4-5);4 plaintiffs filed a supplemental brief in support of their motion on February 23, 2001. (Dkt.# 10).

These motions were referred by Senior U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns to this Magistrate Judge on April 11, 2001. (Dkt.# 11). During telephonic discovery conferences held on April 20, 2001 and June 19, 2001, counsel agreed to the following procedures: that Durkin's counsel would review the disputed documents at the U.S. Attorney's Office, that the U.S. Attorney's Office would copy the designated documents at plaintiffs' expense, that Durkin's counsel would review the documents to determine those documents to which defendant will assert the attorney-client privilege and those documents for which no privilege is asserted, that Durkin's counsel would distribute to plaintiffs' counsel copies of non-privileged documents, and the Magistrate Judge would conduct an in camera review of the documents for which a privilege was asserted. (Dkts.## 13-15). On July 31, 2001, Durkin's counsel submitted these documents to the Magistrate Judge's Chambers; such documents have been filed under seal. (Dkt.# 16).

For the reasons stated below, Durkin's Motion to Quash Subpoena For Production (Dkt.# 1) and plaintiffs' Cross-Motion to Compel (Dkt.# 4) are granted in part and denied in part.


The documents were organized into thirteen distinct files, as follows: (1) from Box 520, Sundew/Europlan; (2) from Box 520, Lacoff v. Sundew Int'l—Correspondence; (3) from Box 520, Lacoff v. Sundew Int'l— Notes; (4) from Box 520, Sundew/MHH, Inc. v. Xolar Corp.; (5) from Box 520, Sundew-Cybersmith—NY—Lease; (6) from Box 520, Sundew/Lincoln Town Cars; (7) from Box 520, WABFT/Lacoff—Interpleader Action; (8) from Box 521, Durkin & Polera, P.C.—Phone Message Pads; (9) from Box 521, Sundew—Criminal Matter; (10) from Box 521, Sundew—Schuchter v. Sukarno—Correspondence and Pleadings;5 (11) Sundew—Schuchter v. Sukarno —Notes; (12) from Box 521, Devonshire —555 Riversville Road; and (13) from Box 522, WDWPT w/Belcic—527 Stanwich Road.

Of foremost concern to plaintiffs is any reference to wire transfers from Frankel's bank accounts. (See Letter, dated June 1, 2001). The Magistrate Judge has conducted a careful in camera review of these documents and concludes that the documents in Files Nos. 1-8, 10-13 are irrelevant, as they have no relation to the issues raised in Mississippi Action.6 Thus, the

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only file at issue would be No. 9, appropriately entitled "Sundew—Criminal Matters."

Plaintiffs argue that by producing documents to the Grand Jury, Durkin has waived the privilege for such documents. (Dkt. # 3, at 6-7). Durkin, in contrast, argues that the privilege did not belong to him, that the documents were produced to the grand jury only after persons who might wish to assert the privilege signed a written waiver allowing production to the grand jury, and that the waiver signed was limited to production to the grand jury. (Dkt. # 8, at 3).7 Durkin's Affidavit provided in relevant part:

On August 1, 2000, I provided all records that I had relating to Martin Frankel or any of his associates in any way to the Office of the United States Attorney, pursuant to a grand jury subpoena. I received a written waiver from Frankel and others who might claim a privilege in these documents. However, the waiver concerned solely the criminal investigation, and I did not and do not understand that it waived the privilege for all purposes. It is my understanding that my attorney has written to counsel for Frankel and others regarding their position on this subpoena.

(Dkt. # 8, Durkin Aff't ¶ 2). In a supplemental brief, Durkin asserted that "counsel for Martin Frankel has directed the undersigned to assert, on behalf of Frankel, the attorney-client privilege with respect to any documents covered by that privilege, and that he is not willing to waive the privilege with respect to the subpoena involved in this case." (Dkt.# 9).

The leading case in this circuit on the issue of waiver in this context is In re Grand Jury Proceedings, 219 F.3d 175 (2d Cir.2000)["Grand Jury I"], issued last summer. There, Doe Corporation's founder, chairman, and controlling shareholder ["Witness"] was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury and his testimony lasted for a full day; despite the corporation's assertion of the attorney-client privilege, on eight occasions, Witness testified regarding advice Doe Corp. had received...

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1 cases
  • Amsouth Bank v. Dale, 03-5517.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • September 21, 2004
    ...Benefit Life Ins. Co., 271 F.3d 411 (2d Cir.2001); Dale v. Ala Acquisitions, Inc., 203 F.Supp.2d 694 (S.D.Miss.2002); Dale v. Frankel, 206 F.Supp.2d 315 (D.Conn.2001). Frankel had purchased seven insurance companies in five states through various entities, while at the same time controlling......

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