These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
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14-Ownership of Files and Attorney Lien Issues

54-Insurance Defense Lawyers

56-Duty to Advise the Court

A lawyer representing a client (seeking Social Security disability benefits for "disabling mental impairments affecting both personality and judgment") who has obtained a report on the client prepared by the client's treating psychologist at the request of and at the expense of the client's long term disability insurance carrier: is bound by Rule 1.4's duty to communicate material facts to the client, if there is an existing attorney client relationship; must comply with Rule 1.16 if the attorney client relationship has ended; may not follow the carrier's direction about the report, if following the direction would violate the lawyer's ethical duties to the client; may be guided by Rule 1.14 if the client is suffering from an impairment (for instance, "while an attorney may never withhold a medical report from a client merely at the request of some other party, in rare instances, an attorney may appropriately consider whether the client is able to act in his own interest with respect to requesting the information"); may be governed by other substantive law covering medical records.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn