Garner Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Garner doctrine refers to a principle whereby shareholder plaintiffs in a corporate derivative action is allowed to discover confidential communications between a corporate officer and the corporation's attorney. This standard was set in the case Garner v. Wolfinbarger, 430 F.2d 1093 (5th Cir. Ala. 1970). The court held that the corporation is not barred from asserting attorney-client privilege merely because those demanding information enjoy the status of stockholders. But where the corporation is in suit against its stockholders on charges of acting inimically to stockholder interests, protection of those interests as well as those of the corporation and of the public require that the availability of the privilege be subject to the right of the stockholders to show cause why it should not be invoked in the particular instance. However the Garner doctrine does not apply to attorney work product and the movant must show good cause.