5, 2009 Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Aug. The Chamber of Commerce and others have also argued that in a time where litigants are often involved in multiple cases in which the privileged material is relevant, disclosure in one case will have an irreparable ripple effect, because once disclosed, the information might be used by adverse parties in other cases. Carpenter contends that allowing immediate appeals of discovery orders would “undermine the deference owed to trial judges charged with managing the discovery process.” See Brief for Respondent at 11 (quoting Cunningham v. Carpenter argues that a ruling for Mohawk would open the door to constant appeals that test the limits of the collateral-order doctrine and seek review of orders concerning any form of privilege or “antidiscovery interests.” See Brief for Respondent at 44-45.
26, 2008) Norman Carpenter, a shift supervisor for Mohawk Industries, Inc., reported to Mohawk that several of its temporary employees were illegal aliens. Carpenter alleged that the meeting with Morillo was an attempt by Mohawk to coerce him into recanting his report concerning illegal alien workers, which would have been damaging to Mohawk’s defense in the Williams case. Carpenter alleged that Mohawk terminated him because he refused to recant the report. After learning of Carpenter’s complaint, the Williams plaintiffs filed a motion for an evidentiary hearing at which Carpenter could testify. Mohawk’s counsel in the Williams action filed a response to this motion, asserting that after an investigation of Carpenter, which included the interview with Morillo, Carpenter was fired for attempting to violate immigration law and that Carpenter’s allegations of conspiracy were “pure fantasy.” See id. Carpenter filed a motion to compel responses to interrogatories and document requests relating to his communications with Morillo and Mohawk’s decision to terminate him. Mohawk contended that the requested information was protected by the attorney-client privilege. The district court ordered disclosure, holding that the communications were protected but that Mohawk had implicitly waived the attorney-client privilege because Mohawk had put the privileged communications “in issue” by referencing the investigation and interview in its response in the Williams case. Mohawk immediately appealed the district court’s order in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, arguing that it had not waived the attorney-client privilege. Mohawk argued that the discovery order was immediately appealable under the collateral order doctrine, which provides that an interlocutory order is appealable if it “(1) conclusively determines the disputed question; (2) resolves an important issue completely separate from the merits of the action; and (3) is effectively unreviewable on appeal from a final judgment.” See id. The group of law professors and former federal judges agree that appellate courts are already over-burdened, and a ruling for Mohawk would only increase dockets congestion.
Carpenter sought discovery of information regarding his interview with Mohawk’s counsel. The Williams case involved a group of current and former Mohawk employees who filed a RICO action against Mohawk, alleging that Mohawk conspired to employ illegal aliens.
Mohawk claimed the interview and investigation were protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Whether, under the collateral order doctrine established in Cohen v. top May a party immediately appeal a district court judge’s order compelling disclosure of communications subject to the attorney-client privilege under the collateral order doctrine? Soon afterward, Mohawk required Carpenter to meet with its counsel, Juan Morillo, who was representing Mohawk in a class action lawsuit, Williams v.