Mike McQueary’s attorneys are joining the list of those questioning Penn State’s position on privilege.
In documents filed Thursday in Centre County court, Harrisburg-based attorney Elliot Strokoff moved to have a judge force the university’s hand.
McQueary filed his whistleblower suit against Penn State in October 2012, four months after he testified in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial. McQueary told a grand jury in 2011 that when he was graduate assistant, years before, he had seen Sandusky assault a 10-year-old boy in the showers.
According to the documents, the two parties have had “a number of disputes concerning said discovery and, despite numerous conferences and communications ... are at impasse with respect to some of the defendant’s claims to attorney/client and attorney work product discovery privileges.”
Penn State has faced similar challenges from the estate of McQueary’s former boss, the late Joe Paterno, including much contention about what construes attorney-client privilege, what is work product and who can claim it.
The actual exhibits in the McQueary suit are sealed, but the motion points to requests for anything related to the drafts of a particular statement released to what is referred to as Document Request 4. Included in that are “more than a dozen emails” between Nov. 1-3, 2011, involving the university’s general counsel and attorneys for two Penn State employees.
Three emails in that group are being contested by Penn State as privileged.
A similar challenge is raised regarding Document Request 11, including Feb. 13, 2012, emails between various Penn State recipients and a media consultant “who also happens to be an attorney,” as well as a non-attorney colleague of the consultant.
“A communication between an individual and a media consultant is not entitled to the protection of attorney/client privilege merely because the media consultant may also happen to be an attorney,” Strokoff wrote, requesting the court to direct the university to deliver the unredacted documents.