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