New York Supreme Court Orders Separate Trial on Existence of Attorney-Client Relationship between Former Hedge Fund Principal and Outside Lawyer and Firm

  • Helie, former principal of hedge fund adviser Gramercy, sued Gramercy’s outside law firm alleging malpractice resulting in Helie’s receipt of less than the market value of his interest in Gramercy upon termination.
  • Defendant law firm subpoenaed documents containing financial information from Gramercy.
  • Question was whether enforcement of the subpoena would result in improper revelation of client confidences or secrets.
  • Court held that client financial information sought by subpoena constitutes client confidences or secrets.
  • Court noted that “right to part of the curtain of confidentiality must be sparingly applied.”
  • Instead of deciding whether to enforce subpoena, court ordered separate trial on whether an attorney-client relationship existed between Helie and outside firm, which was a necessary element of Helie’s malpractice claim.

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