LEO: Attorney/Client - Confidences LE Op. 1079
Attorney/Client - Confidences and Secrets.
May 17, 1988
You advise that you represent a client who was injured in an accident, at
which time he was employed and was the beneficiary of a health and
disability policy. In order to receive benefits of this policy, your
client agreed to reimburse the insurance company. The agreement to
reimburse, according to the documents that your client signed, constitutes
a first lien upon all sums of money recovered from any third party to the
extent that such recovery is attributable to expenses from which your
client received benefits. You have now settled this case and your client
forbids you to disclose to the insurance company any information regarding
either the settlement or that his settlement has taken place.
You wish to know whether or not you may disclose this information without
violating any client confidences or secrets.
Disciplinary Rule 4-101(C)(3) [ DR:4-101] states that a lawyer may
reveal information which clearly establishes that his client has, in the
course of the representation, perpetrated upon a third party a fraud
related to the subject matter of the representation. The Committee
believes that because your client has not notified the insurance company
that settlement has been received, he has perpetrated a fraud upon that
company. Pursuant to DR:4-101(C)(3), the Committee believes that you may
reveal this information to the insurance company.
Committee Opinion May 17, 1988