ETHICS OPINION 215
NUMBER 215 1923
Question. In an action for goods sold and delivered; the defendant acknowledged receipt of some of them, but denied the receipt of the remainder. In an action for the whole amount a verdict was rendered for the acknowledged amount, and judgment there for was paid and satisfied of record. The evidence upon which the verdict was rendered in the reduced amount tended to show that missing goods were stolen by an employee of plaintiff employed to deliver them to defendant.
The defendant’s lawyer who conducted the defense now discovers that the testimony which implicated the employee was false, and that all of the goods were delivered to and received by the defendant. Meanwhile the accused employee has been discharged from his position and has been indicted for larceny of the missing goods. His client, with knowledge of the facts, refuses to make any amends, though counseled by the lawyer to do so.
In the opinion of the Committee, what may and should the lawyer properly do to rectify the injury resulting from the testimony now discovered by him to have been false?
Answer. The Committee does not understand from the question that the knowledge of the attorney was communicated to him by his client as a privileged communication; it would, if such were the case, require a more detailed examination of the facts before giving its answer. But assuming, as it does, that no such privilege exists in the present case, it is of the opinion that the attorney, having tried and failed to get his client to forego the benefit derived from the false testimony, should himself disclose its falsity to those who were injured by its results, to the end that they may take such steps as they may be advised for the protection of their interests.