In John Ernst Lucken Revocable Trust v. Heritage Bankshares Group, Inc., No. 16-CV-4005-MWB (N.D. Iowa Feb. 15, 2017), defendants sought to depose Peterson, who had provided plaintiffs with advice on several of plaintiffs’ projects over many years, but who had not held an active attorney’s license for more than ten years, with the exception of one short period.  The court noted that no direct case law existed in the Eighth Circuit on this point.  The court found that the general rule in other courts is that an attorney-client privilege cannot attach where the communications are not made with a member of the bar, except where the person asserting the privilege had a reasonable but mistaken belief that the person to whom they were communicating was in fact a licensed attorney.  Here, Peterson had been actively licensed in Colorado, and changed his status to “inactive” when he moved to Florida to advise plaintiffs.  The court noted that the state of Colorado, where Peterson held his only license to practice law, would not consider him eligible to practice under inactive status.  The court also found that plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they had a reasonable belief that Peterson was licensed to practice law, and that the evidence presented by Peterson indicated that plaintiffs knew that Peterson had gone on “inactive” status and that he would not likely renew his previous “active” status.  Defendants, therefore, were free to depose Peterson as a non-lawyer occurrence witness.