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People v. PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.
May 23, 2017
150 A.D.3d 578 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017)

Opinion

05-23-2017

In re PEOPLE of the State of New York, etc., Petitioner–Respondent, v. PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS, LLP, Respondent, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Respondent–Appellant.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York (Theodore V. Wells, Jr. of counsel), for appellant. Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General, New York (Anisha S. Dasgupta of counsel), for respondent.


Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York (Theodore V. Wells, Jr. of counsel), for appellant.

Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General, New York (Anisha S. Dasgupta of counsel), for respondent.

Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Barry R. Ostrager, J.), entered on or about October 26, 2016, which granted the petition of New York State Attorney General (NYAG) to compel respondent Exxon Mobile Corporation (Exxon) and its independent auditor, respondent PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP (PwC), to comply with a subpoena duces tecum served on PwC, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

In this proceeding arising from an underlying investigation by the NYAG into alleged fraud by respondent Exxon concerning its published climate change information, the motion court properly found that the New York law on privilege, rather than Texas law, applies, and that New York does not recognize an accountant-client privilege.

We reject Exxon's argument that an interest-balancing analysis is required to decide which state's choice of law should govern the evidentiary privilege. Our current case law requires that when we are deciding privilege issues, we apply the law of the place where the evidence will be introduced at trial, or the place where the discovery proceeding is located (JP Morgan Chase & Co. v. Indian Harbor Ins. Co., 98 A.D.3d 18, 25, 947 N.Y.S.2d 17 [1st Dept.2012], lv. denied 20 N.Y.3d 858, 2013 WL 452284 [2013], citing People v. Greenberg, 50 A.D.3d 195, 198, 851 N.Y.S.2d 196 [2008], lv. dismissed 10 N.Y.3d 894, 861 N.Y.S.2d 266, 891 N.E.2d 299 [2008] ). In light of our conclusion that New York law applies, we need not decide how this issue would be decided under Texas law.

We have considered Exxon's remaining arguments and find them unavailing.

SWEENY, J.P., ANDRIAS, MOSKOWITZ, KAHN, GESMER, JJ., concur.


Summaries of

People v. PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.
May 23, 2017
150 A.D.3d 578 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017)
Case details for

People v. PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP

Case Details

Full title:In re PEOPLE of the State of New York, etc., Petitioner–Respondent, v…

Court:Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

Date published: May 23, 2017

Citations

150 A.D.3d 578 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017)
52 N.Y.S.3d 626

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