In re CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF CALIFORNIA, etc., Plaintiff
Paulette COOPER, Defendant, No. CV 79 2053 (RMT),
Paulette COOPER, Counterclaimant
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF CALIFORNIA, etc. Counterdefendant, No. CV 79
No. CV 79 2053(RMT).
United States District Court, S. D. New York.
June 10, 1981.
On motion to compel attorney to answer certain questions he refused to answer
at deposition, the District Court, Lasker, J., held that: (1) client, by
disclosing to the third parties the contents of her communications with the
attorney waived any privilege which might have protected those communications,
and (2) deposition questions not asking for the substance of any communications
client made to attorney did not ask for any material protected by the attorney-
Client by disclosing to third parties the contents of her communications with
attorney waived any privilege which may have protected those communications.
 FEDERAL CIVIL PROCEDURE
Deposition questions not asking for the substance of any communications client
made to attorney but rather asking whether discussions concerning various
subjects were had, whether compensation was received or arranged for, whether
legal services were rendered, and whether documents were shown to the client,
did not ask for any material protected by the attorney-client privilege.
*442 Cohn, Glickstein, Lurie, Ostrin, Lubell & Lubell, New York City, for
plaintiff; Jonathan W. Lubell, William O'Brien, New York City, of counsel.
John J. Seffern, pro se.
LASKER, District Judge.
The Church of Scientology of California (the "Church") moves to compel John
Seffern to answer certain questions he refused to answer at a deposition
conducted in this case on January 22, 1981. Seffern refused to answer on the
grounds that the questions related to communications he had as an attorney
representing his client, Paulette Cooper, and are consequently protected by the
The Church argues that the attorney-client privilege does not apply here
because (1) Seffern was disbarred by the Appellate Division of the New York
State Supreme Court, First Department on July 29, 1976, (2) Cooper waived the
privilege by disclosing to a third party the substance of her communications
with Seffern (which disclosure was tape recorded and a transcript of that
recording was submitted on this motion), (3) the subject of those
communications was Seffern's advice to Cooper how to lie comfortably during
deposition questioning and are consequently not protected because the attorney-
client privilege does not protect communications whose purpose is to commit
perjury or a fraud or to impede discovery, and (4) some of the questions do not
ask for the substance of the conversations.
Seffern argues that he is a member of this court in good standing (Affidavit
of John Seffern, sworn April 13, 1981) and that Cooper considers those
communications privileged (Affidavit of Paulette Cooper, sworn March (sic) 3,
The Church responds by arguing that under the local rules of this court in
effect at the time, Seffern should have been suspended from practice in this
court upon his suspension by the Appellate Division.
*443 We note, as the Church acknowledges, that the rule has recently been
amended to provide for "notice and opportunity to be heard" before suspension
from this court. General Rule 4(d). However, it is unnecessary to determine
whether this change should be given retroactive effect or whether Seffern is a
member of a bar. Even if Seffern were a member of a bar, the questions he
refused to answer did not inquire into any material which is protected by the
 First, we agree with the Church that Cooper, by disclosing to third
parties the contents of her communications with Seffern concerning the training
sessions he conducted with her, waived any privilege which may have protected
those communications. In a conversation she had with two private investigators
on February 20, 1980, Cooper explained how Seffern trained her to lie during
depositions (Affidavit of Jonathan W. Lubell, sworn March 13, 1981, P 4).
Accordingly, since any privilege with regard to these conversations has been
waived, the motion to compel Seffern to answer questions relating to Seffern's
training sessions is granted.
 Second, the remaining questions do not ask for the substance of any
communications Cooper made to Seffern and consequently do not ask for any
material protected by the attorney-client privilege. Colton v. United
States, 306 F.2d 633, 637 (2d Cir. 1962), cert. denied, 371 U.S. 951, 83
S.Ct. 505, 9 L.Ed.2d 499 (1963). Rather they ask whether discussions
concerning various subjects were had, whether compensation was received or
arranged for, see id. at 637-38, whether legal services were rendered, see
id. at 637, and whether documents were shown to Cooper.
Accordingly, the motion to compel Seffern to answer the questions he refused
to answer during the deposition conducted on January 22, 1981 is granted.
It is so ordered.