• Ninth Circuit Applies ERISA Fiduciary Privilege Exception to Insurer
  • September 17, 2012 | Authors: Matthew O. Gatewood; Steuart H. Thomsen
  • Law Firm: Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP - Washington Office
  • On September 12, 2012, the Ninth Circuit became the first circuit court to consider the Third Circuit’s holding in Wachtel v. Health Net, Inc., 482 F.3d 225 (3d Cir. 2007), that the ERISA “fiduciary exception” to the attorney-client privilege did not apply to an insurer making claims decisions in a fiduciary capacity. In a brief discussion within an opinion addressing a number of other issues as well, the Ninth Circuit declined to follow Wachtel. Stephan v. Unum Life Insurance Co. of America, No. 10-16840, 3:08-cv-01935-MHP (9th Cir. Sept. 12, 2012).