Common-Interest Privilege

News & Analysis as of

New York Decision Highlights Another Common Interest Doctrine Risk

Under the common interest doctrine, separately represented clients may sometimes avoid waiving their fragile privilege protection when they disclose protected documents to each other. Nearly every court applies the doctrine...more

Evidence Law Litigation Update - February 2017

New York Court of Appeals Holds That the Common Interest Doctrine Applies Only to Litigation Matters. This year, in Ambac Assurance Corp. v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., No. 80, 2016 N.Y. Lexis 1649 (N.Y. June 9, 2016), New...more

Privilege Claims Validated in Counterfeit Detection Dispute

In a recent decision, Magistrate Judge Kelley addressed the legitimacy of withholding third party communications under the common interest doctrine. The case involved plaintiff Crane Security Technologies, Inc. (“Crane”) –...more

D. Mass. Holds That Parties to an Arm’s-Length Negotiation Have Enough Common Interest to Maintain Privilege

During IP license negotiations, prudent negotiators will often avoid sharing privileged information about the IP to avoid waiving the attorney-client privilege. But in a recent District of Massachusetts case, the court upheld...more

Courts Continue to Insist that Common Interest Participants Anticipate Litigation

The common interest doctrine can allow separately represented clients to safely share privileged communications in certain circumstances. Although many lawyers hope that courts will begin extending this helpful protection to...more

An In-House Counsel Learns the Hard Way About a Key Difference Between Common Interest Agreements and Joint Representations: Part...

Common interest agreements and joint representations share many characteristics. Both types of arrangements involve lawyers engaging in protected communications with multiple clients. But they are structurally distinct. In...more

Southern District of New York Issues a Troublesome Corporate Privilege Case

Most courts applying privilege principles automatically treat wholly-owned subsidiaries' employees as if they were the parent's employees. However, occasionally courts take a narrower view. In Au New Haven, LLC v. YKK...more

Are Common Interest Agreements Discoverable, and Why Does Anyone Care?

Courts sometimes wrestle with common interest agreements' discoverability. In GeoMetWatch Corp. v. Hall, the court noted that "[c]ases that have addressed whether joint-defense agreements are discoverable or protected...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

Common Interest Privilege in Cross-Border Matters: Canada vs. U.S. Law

While many tenets concerning the protections afforded by privilege are similar in both Canada and the United States, there are key differences and treatment when it comes to settlement and common interest privilege, as some...more

Insurers Beware: Defending Bad Faith Claim May Lead to Waiver of Privileged Communications

On July 27, 2016, the United States District Court for South Carolina ordered an insurer to turn over its privileged communications. The Court explained that the insurer waived the protections afforded under the...more

The New York Court of Appeals Rejects Attempted Expansion of the Common Interest Exception to the Attorney Client Privilege

Last month, the New York Court of Appeals issued a decision rejecting the attempted expansion of the common interest exception to the attorney-client privilege to include communications that did not involve pending or...more

The Common Interest Doctrine: Lessons on avoiding an inadvertent waiver of the attorney-client privilege

Most lawyers are familiar with the general rule that a client waives the attorney-client privilege by disclosing the privileged information to third parties. The common interest doctrine, however, provides an exception to...more

New York and North Carolina Take a Narrow Approach to Common Interest Doctrine

Brief Summary - The "common interest doctrine" generally protects attorney-client communications, even if such communications are disclosed to a third party, as long as the third party shares a common legal interest with...more

‘Sorry, But You Have Nothing in Common’: The New York Court of Appeals’ Recent Rejection of the ‘Common Interest Doctrine’...

The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, recently rejected an attempt to apply the “common interest doctrine,” an exception to the general rule that communicating privileged information to a third party...more

New York's Highest Court Reverses Appellate Division, Reaffirms Litigation Requirement for Common-Interest Privilege

In a recent decision reversing the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, First Judicial Department, the New York Court of Appeals definitively held that the common-interest privilege may be used in New York...more

Court Takes a Liberal View of Privilege for Communications Between a Plaintiff and a Litigation Funder

With litigants' increasing reliance on litigation funders, courts have had to wrestle with privilege and work product issues, including whether litigants and their litigation funders share a "common interest" allowing the...more

New York Court of Appeals Rejects More General Application of Common-Interest Privilege in M&A Settings

New York’s highest court has rejected an attempt to expand the state’s common-interest doctrine, and reinstated the New York rule that the doctrine only applies in the context of actual or threatened litigation. Citing the...more

New York’s Highest Court Refuses to Expand the Common Interest Doctrine to Merging Parties

On June 9, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals issued a stark reminder to transactional lawyers: no matter how much “common interest” two parties may have with respect to a transaction, the common interest doctrine may not...more

M&A Update: New York Court of Appeals Rejects Extension of Common Interest Privilege to Merger Talks

On June 9, 2016, a divided New York Court of Appeals in a much-anticipated ruling held that the attorney-client privilege can only be maintained for communications involving third parties in situations where litigation is...more

Business Litigation Reporter - June 2016

Goodwin Procter’s Business Litigation Reporter provides timely summaries of key cases and other developments within dedicated Business Litigation sessions and related courts throughout the country – courts within which...more

Corporate Investigations and White Collar Defense - June 2016

Eye on the Supreme Court—Corruption and Fraud Edition - Why it matters: This session, the Supreme Court has undertaken the review of numerous cases that raise thorny issues arising in the white collar context. In our...more

Litigation Funder Communications Protected by the Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Doctrine

Addressing a novel issue in In re: International Oil Trading Company, LLC, 548 B.R. 825 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 2016), the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida recently denied in part an involuntary...more

Insurance & Reinsurance Newsletter

In Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2507 (2015), one of the most watched cases of 2015, the Supreme Court held that plaintiffs may rely on a disparate impact...more

Reinsurer “Access to Records” and “Common Interest” – Permitting Access and Preserving Privilege

An integral part of the relationship between the reinsurer and cedant is that the reinsurer be permitted access to the ceding company’s books and records. A cedant, however, may face the dilemma of risking waiver of privilege...more

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