Attorney-Client Privilege Work Product Privilege

News & Analysis as of

Some Courts Misapply the Common Interest Doctrine

The common interest doctrine can allow separately represented clients to share attorney-client privileged communications without waiving that very fragile protection. In contrast to privilege-protected documents, work product...more

Are Your HR Investigation Notes Protected Against Disclosure? Maybe, Maybe Not.

Just last month, two federal district courts reached different conclusions, further contributing to the confusion as to whether notes taken during a Human Resources department investigation of a discrimination or harassment...more

California Supreme Court Holds that Inadvertent Disclosure In Response to a Public Records Act Request Does Not Waive The...

In a unanimous opinion addressing a legal issue of statewide importance, the California Supreme Court resolved a split of authority and held that a governmental entity’s inadvertent release of privileged documents under the...more

How Far Does the "Functional Equivalent" Standard Extend?

Many previous Privilege Points have addressed the corporate-friendly "functional equivalent" doctrine, under which non-employees who essentially act as employees are inside privilege protection. An equal number of Privilege...more

California Supreme Court Finds that a Public Agency Cannot Inadvertently Waive Attorney-Client and Work Product Privileges

Last year, I wrote about the Second Appellate District case of Ardon v. City of Los Angeles. In Ardon, the appellate court found that a public agency can waive statutory privileges that it otherwise would have if it produces...more

Distinguishing Between "Facts" and Lawyers' "Opinions"

Although the attorney-client privilege does not protect historical facts, any facts "created" during or in anticipation of litigation can present a difficult analysis. In Gilead Sciences, Inc. v. Merck & Co., Case No....more

The E-Discovery Digest - February 2016

This is the third edition of The E-Discovery Digest, a periodic publication on notable decisions relating to key discovery topics. It is designed to keep clients up to date on the evolving state of the law regarding discovery...more

Focus on Tax Controversy and Litigation - New Partnership Audit Procedures May Dramatically Affect the Assessment and Collection...

In addition to the discussion of the new partnership audit rules, this month’s issue features articles regarding a recent district court decision in Ellis v. United States regarding the attorney-client privilege and work...more

Who Controls an Audit Committee's Privilege and Work Product Protection if the Company Declares Bankruptcy?

Many courts recognize that a corporation's constituent (such as an audit committee or a group of independent directors) can own the privilege and work product protection covering the constituent's internal corporate...more

Why Every Data Breach Response Plan Should Involve Outside Counsel

The importance of retaining outside counsel after a data breach was recently underscored in the Target data breach class-action litigation filed by the financial institutions. Plaintiffs filed a motion to compel Target to...more

Second Circuit Reaffirms That Attorney-Client Privilege Is Not Waived By Sharing Documents With Parties Pursuant to a Common Legal...

On November 10, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion reaffirming that the attorney-client privilege and work product protections were not waived by a businessman and his company when they...more

California Appellate Court Addresses Release of City Attorney’s Private E-mails

An appellate court ordered a trial court judge to reconsider his order that e-mails to and from the San Diego city attorney’s personal account be released publicly. The League of California Cities argued that e-mails between...more

Court Rules Target Data Breach Internal Investigation Documents Largely Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege/Work Product...

The Minnesota magistrate judge presiding over discovery in the litigation seeking to hold Target Corp. liable for the retailer’s 2013 data breach issued an order denying the motion by a plaintiff class of about 9,000 banks to...more

Cross-Border Investigations Update - November 2015

This issue of Skadden’s semiannual Cross-Border Investigations Update takes a close look at recent cases and enforcement trends, including developments in U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement; the introduction of...more

Claiming Privilege or Work Product Protection During Discovery Can Risk Trial Disaster

Last week's Privilege Point addressed the decreasing subject matter waiver risk of corporations' pretrial disclosure of arguably privileged communications, or even their passing reference to legal advice in pretrial filings....more

The E-Discovery Digest - October 2015

In This Issue: - Attorney-Client Privilege/Work Product Decisions: ..Decisions Protecting Against Disclosure ..Decisions Ordering Disclosure Other - Spoliation Decisions: ..Spoliation Sanctions...more

Business Lit Ledger - Fall 2015

In this Fall issue of our newsletter, you will find a review of several significant legal developments. For example, our antitrust group reviews actions taken by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice...more

Court Analyzes Possible Privilege Protection for Communications with Public Relations Consultants

Corporations and their lawyers frequently work with public relations consultants when facing ongoing or anticipated litigation. In the work product context, courts agree that disclosing preexisting work product to such...more

Rhode Island Supreme Court Addresses Deposition Conduct And Instructions Not To Answer

Rhode Island has long honored the late Professor Robert B. Kent’s teachings on civil procedure, including his opinions concerning depositions. In keeping with Professor Kent’s teachings, Rhode Island courts take the position...more

Business Litigation Report - September 2015

Alleging Fraud in a Financial Crisis: The Second Circuit Articulates a Less Stringent Pleading Standard for Loss Causation: Loss causation has emerged as a central obstacle to post-financial-crisis fraud cases. The loss...more

“That’s [Not] Privileged”: A Corporation’s Duty to Prepare a 30(b)(6) Witness Includes Sharing Knowledge of Legal Counsel

When a company is noticed for a deposition, it has a duty to prepare its witnesses to fully and unevasively answer questions about the designated subject matters. Companies may not realize, though, that the preparation must...more

KBR And Maintaining Privilege Throughout Investigations

Last month, for the second time, the D.C. Circuit in In re Kellogg Brown & Root Inc., No. 14-5319, slip op. (D.C. Cir. Aug. 11, 2015), granted a writ of mandamus sought by KBR and vacated a series of district court orders...more

D.C. Circuit Reinforces Attorney-Client Privilege Applicable to Internal Investigations

On August 11, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the District Court of Columbia issued a decision of importance to all companies that seek to maintain privilege with respect to internal investigations. The D.C....more

Assistant Attorney General Caldwell Clarifies Application of Yates Memo on Individual Accountability

On September 22, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division, Leslie R. Caldwell, spoke at the Global Investigations Review Conference in New York, addressing the...more

Can a Public Agency Inadvertently Waive Attorney-Client & Work Product Privileges? First and Second Appellate District Split on...

In January, I wrote about the Second Appellate District case of Ardon v. City of Los Angeles. In Ardon, the court found that a public entity can waive statutory privileges that it otherwise would have if it produces...more

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