Using an Adversary's Privileged Documents May Lead to Disqualification


Attorney's Review Of Privileged Documents From Client Results In Attorney's Disqualification

An attorney who views and uses an adversary's privileged documents supplied to him by his own client may, under certain circumstances, be disqualified, according to Clark v. Superior Court, 196 Cal. App. 4th 37 (2011) (petition for review pending). This new decision from the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division One, expands the State Fund rule beyond inadvertent disclosure by a third party to documents provided by the attorney's own client, at least where the client's possession of those privileged documents is wrongful.

Background to the Clark case: the State Fund-Rico Rule for Receipt of Inadvertently Disclosed Privileged Documents

In State Compensation Insurance Fund v. WPS, Inc., 70 Cal. App. 4th 644 (1999), the Court of Appeal laid out a protocol for handling the inadvertent disclosure of privileged documents...

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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