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The Warren Sun

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Macomb Township Board debates meaning of attorney-client privilege regarding legal bill

Local Government

By Adam Eisenberg | Sep 23, 2019

Generalcourt12

A move to table the payment of a legal bill created confusion around proper procedure and the nature of attorney-client privilege at a recent Macomb Township Board of Trustees meeting.

At issue is a bill listed as being from the firm Kirk and Huth, Lange PC. The bill is in the amount of $3,561.25. 

The controversy began when Trustee Timothy Bussineau motioned to table payment of the bill during a Sept. 11 Board of Trustees meeting. Bussineau explained that he requested an itemized bill to review the charges, but was told it did not exist. Bussineau said he was later told the itemized bill did exist, but was subject to attorney-client privilege and therefore unavailable to him to review.

When Bussineau raised the issue, he was told by Supervisor Janet Dunn that she had an itemized copy that she would allow him to review. This spurred a larger debate around why attorney-client privilege was necessary in this case. The end result of the debate was General Counsel Thomas Esordi recommending that board members be allowed to see the itemized bill, but that attorney-client privilege be applied as it relates to allowing members of the public to see the itemized bill, which Esordi noted is common practice in cases of this nature.

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