In In re Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co., No. 11-15719 (Bankr. N.D. Ohio Feb. 4, 2013), the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio held that a law firm hired to represent the debtor could not assert privilege on behalf of the debtor’s individual directors and officers. In response to the Unsecured Creditors’ Committee’s demand that the debtor pay unsecured claims and notify its Directors and Officers insurance carrier of claims being asserted by the Committee, the debtor engaged counsel. When the matter was converted to a chapter 7 proceeding, the trustee asked the firm to turn over documents that belonged to the debtor. The firm refused, asserting attorney-client privilege based on the firm’s alleged separate representation of the debtor’s officers and directors. The court granted the trustee’s motion to compel. The court rejected the firm’s argument that it had a separate attorney-client relationship with the individual directors and officers. The court noted that the firm’s position contradicted the firm’s application to act as special counsel for the debtor and the court’s order granting the application. In addition, the firm’s billing statements did not identify the individuals as clients, and the firm did not identify any documents that it had prepared on behalf of the individuals. Even if the firm simultaneously represented both the debtor and the individuals, the outcome would be no different. Joint clients who have employed an attorney as their common agent with respect to a matter may not assert the privilege in later litigation between the joint clients. “Among joint clients, however, the privilege may not be used either to restrict access to, or to preclude use of communications between the attorney and the clients that relate to those matters in which they had a common interest and about which they collectively consulted the attorney.”