Mohawk Industries, Inc. v. Carpenter

130 S.Ct. 599 (2009)


Carpenter (P) filed suit alleging that D had terminated him in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(2). P's termination came after he informed D's human resources department in an e-mail that the company was employing undocumented immigrants. Unknown to P, D stood accused in a pending class-action lawsuit of conspiring to drive down the wages of its legal employees by knowingly hiring undocumented workers in violation of federal and state racketeering laws. P was directed to meet with the company's retained counsel in the other case, and counsel allegedly pressured P to recant his statements. When he refused, D fired him under false pretenses. The plaintiffs in the other case sought an evidentiary hearing to explore P's allegations. According to D, P himself had 'engaged in blatant and illegal misconduct' by attempting to have D hire an undocumented worker. It was investigated by retained counsel, and they confirmed the reason for firing. P filed a motion to compel D to produce information concerning his meeting with retained counsel and the company's termination decision. D maintained that the requested information was protected by the attorney-client privilege. The District Court granted P's motion to compel disclosure because D had implicitly waived the privilege through its representations in the other case. D filed a notice of appeal and a petition for a writ of mandamus to the Eleventh Circuit. Both were denied as the order did not meet requirement three from Cohen under the collateral order doctrine. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.