Attorney-Client Privilege Work-Product Doctrine

News & Analysis as of

Maximizing Work Product Protection After an Ordinary Course Internal Investigation Uncovers Serious Problems that Could Trigger...

The work product doctrine only protects internal corporate investigations initiated by the corporation's anticipation of litigation. Thus, the protection normally does not extend to investigations required by some external or...more

Whistleblower’s Attorney’s Communications with Regulators Found to be Protected by Work Product Doctrine

A California Magistrate Judge in BofI Federal Bank v. Erhart ruled that a whistleblower’s attorney’s communications sent to federal regulators were protected by the attorney work product doctrine. No. 15-cv-2353 (S.D. Cal....more

Court Points to Several Factors in Denying Work Product Protection: Part II

Last week's Privilege Point described a court's rejection of a work product claim based, in part, on an in-house lawyer's lack of involvement in creating the withheld documents. Phoenix Technologies Ltd. v. VMware, Inc., Case...more

Court Points to Several Factors in Denying Work Product Protection: Part I

Although some courts seem to misunderstand this, Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(3) on its face allows nonlawyers to create protected work product. But lawyers' involvement can buttress work product claims even in courts applying the...more

What Is "Litigation" for Work Product Protection Purposes?

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(3) and its state counterparts protect from discovery "documents and tangible things that are prepared in anticipation of litigation." This obviously includes civil litigation. But what about other forms...more

Protect the Privilege: Considerations in Employment Investigations

Employers can take many steps to help maximize the likelihood that attorney-client privileged information and work product will be protected in the context of employment-related investigations. In the recent case of City...more

Privilege Considerations in Cyber Incident Response

As with other types of crisis situations, a cyber security incident can generate not only operational issues, but also significant legal exposure. Affected companies should think through the associated privilege issues,...more

E Pluribus Unum Is for eDiscovery Too

The proliferation of data to the point of excess is a common refrain and problem for many organizations today. The scale to which data has grown recently has a direct correlation to eDiscovery – as organizations struggle to...more

CA Appellate Court Rules That Outside Counsel’s Fact Investigation is Privileged

On June 8, 2016, the First Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal, reversed a Sonoma County Superior Court, holding that an outside counsel’s investigative report was protected from discovery by the...more

I Spy the Relevant Data: Using Analytics to Accelerate eDiscovery for Second Requests

Pikachu, Wartortle, Ivysaur, Rattata—can you catch ‘em all? With Pokémon Go, the current augmented reality app craze, your goal is to search for and capture these virtual monsters that pop up in various places using your...more

The First Appellate District Confirms that the Attorney-Client Privilege and the Attorney Work Product Doctrine Apply to...

In City of Petaluma, the former employee filed a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) alleging sexual harassment and retaliation during her employment with the City of Petaluma (“City”). The...more

Personnel Investigation By Outside Attorney Protected From Disclosure In Discovery

Seyfarth Synopsis: California Court of Appeal holds that (1) an outside attorney’s investigation can be privileged even though the attorney simply investigated facts, and (2) the employer does not waive the privilege simply...more

California Court of Appeal Finds Fact Investigation by Outside Counsel is Privileged

In City of Petaluma v. Superior Court (Andrea Waters), the California Court of Appeal recently held that outside counsel's fact investigation of an employee's harassment and discrimination claims conducted prior to litigation...more

Court Finds Bracewell & Guiliani Report Unprotected by the Privilege or the Work Product Doctrine

Many clients assume that the attorney-client privilege will almost always automatically protect any law firm's report to them, and that the work product doctrine will also apply whenever they anticipate litigation. Like other...more

How Does a Company Satisfy the Work Product Motivation Element for Post-Accident Investigations? (Part II)

Last week's Privilege Point discussed a court's rejection of a work product claim for a routine post-accident incident report. That defendant did not establish that the report was different from reports following accidents...more

AbbVie Documents Not Protected by Privilege in FTC Sham Litigation Suit - Federal Trade Commission v. AbbVie, Inc., (E.D. Penn....

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ordered AbbVie, Inc. and Besins Healthcare to produce unredacted documents to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), because the documents were relevant to the...more

The Privilege of PR: Application of the Attorney-Client Privilege to Crisis Communications and Public Relations in Breach Response...

Cyber-attacks have become a matter of everyday reality for all businesses: regardless of industry or size, it is no longer if a data breach will happen, but when. And waiting for a breach to occur before designing and...more

Privilege not Waived for Inadequate Privilege Log

Catalina Yacht Club, et al. v. The Superior Court of Orange County, et al. - Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three (December 4, 2015) - Courts have broad discretion to impose sanctions of...more

Decision Highlights a Key Difference Between Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Doctrine Protection

The attorney-client privilege provides absolute but fragile protection. In contrast, work product doctrine protection can be overcome — but offers more robust safety than the privilege. This distinction affects the impact of...more

Focus on Tax Controversy and Litigation - Second Circuit Determines that Tax Memo Shared Between Taxpayers and Banks Is Protected...

In addition to the discussion of the Second Circuit’s decision in Schaeffler, this month’s issue features articles regarding the “new” IRS Notices covering “Basket Options” and “Basket Contracts”, the Tax Court’s recent...more

Second Circuit Upholds Common-Interest Privilege for Borrower’s Sharing of Legal Advice with Consortium of Lenders

The Second Circuit held last week that a borrower did not waive the attorney-client privilege by providing documents to a consortium of lender banks that shared a common legal interest with the borrower in the tax treatment...more

When Conducting Investigations, Consider "Privileges"

Whether voluntarily or as required by the International Safety Management Code, the American Waterways Operators’ (“AWO”) Responsible Carrier Program, or some other rule or regulation, investigations of accidents and...more

Attorney-Client Privilege and Work-Product Doctrine Shield Forensic Data Breach Consultant’s Communications and Documents from...

October 23, 2015, Magistrate Judge Jeffrey J. Keyes of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota determined that the attorney-client privilege and the work-product doctrine shielded from disclosure...more

D.C. Circuit Once Again Upholds Privilege Over Internal Investigation Documents

In United States ex rel. Barko v. Halliburton Co. et al., a qui tam suit we previously covered, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals once again ruled that defense contractor KBR Inc.’s internal investigation...more

Whew! That Was Close – D.C. Circuit Reaffirms Application of Attorney-Client Privilege and Attorney Work Product Doctrine in...

On August 11, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a writ of mandamus supporting the robust applicability of the attorney-client privilege and attorney work product doctrines in the context of False...more

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