Witness Statements: Attorney Work Product?

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A recent California Court of Appeals case, Coito v. Superior Court of Stanislaus County, __ Cal. App. 4th __ (March 4, 2010), highlights an important discrepancy between state and federal protection of attorney work product as it applies to witness statements. While the federal rules and case law support a qualified privilege with regard to such statements (requiring a showing of substantial need to permit discovery), the law applicable in state courts may differ. The court in Coito, as further discussed below, followed a line of California cases that place witness statements outside of the attorney work product doctrine.

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