[From the Associated Press, November 13, 2006 and posted on Law.com]
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider a case in which Qwest Communications International Inc. had been ordered to produce 220,000 pages of documents to shareholders in a civil securities fraud lawsuit.
Qwest attorneys had argued the documents were protected by attorney-client and work-product privilege.
Many shareholders involved in the lawsuit reached a $450 million class action settlement with Qwest, but claims are pending against former Chief Executive Officer Joseph Nacchio and former Chief Financial Officer Robert Woodruff.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision that the company waived its privilege when it gave the documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department.
The shareholders sued the company in 2001, about a year before the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department opened separate investigations into accounting improprieties that eventually led Qwest to remove billions of dollars in improperly reported revenue from its books.
Based in Denver, Qwest is the primary phone service provider in 14 mostly Western states.
The case is Qwest Communications International Inc. v. New England Health Care Employees Pension Fund, 06-343.