Privilege Waivers

News & Analysis as of

Privilege Waiver: Is Your File-Sharing Site a Public Park Bench?

While courts and the Federal Rules of Evidence take an increasingly pragmatic approach to the question of when inadvertent disclosure of privileged information results in waiver, a recent federal magistrate’s ruling serves as...more

Ex-General Counsel Dodged Privilege Claims Before $14.5 Million Verdict

In our last post, we detailed how Sanford Wadler, the former general counsel of Bio-Rad Laboratories, won a $14.5 million verdict against Bio-Rad. Before Wadler could get to a jury, however, he had to surmount a...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

Involvement of Opinion Counsel in Trial Strategy Results in a Broad Subject-Matter Waiver that Extends to Trial Counsel

In a December 13, 2016, order (made publicly available in redacted form on January 5, 2017), the District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina enunciated a broad waiver of the attorney-client privilege for a party...more

District Court Orders Production of Attorney-Client Communications Between Opinion Counsel and Trial Counsel Based on Advice of...

Plaintiff Krausz Industries Ltd. ("Krausz") filed a motion for an order compelling Defendants Smith-Blair, Inc. and Sensus USA, Inc. (collectively "Smith-Blair") to allow discovery into various attorney-client communications...more

California Supreme Court Concludes Attorney Invoices Privileged During Ongoing Litigation

Attorney invoices may be protected in their entirety by the attorney-client privilege during ongoing litigation. After litigation has concluded, however, those same invoices may be discoverable. So concludes the California...more

Supreme Court of Missouri Holds No Waiver of Work Product Privilege When Party Rescinds Designation of Expert Witness Without...

State ex rel. Jason H. Malashock v. The Honorable Michael T. Jamison, SC 95606 (November 1, 2016) The Supreme Court of Missouri reversed a trial court’s order permitting the deposition of a plaintiff expert witness on...more

Despite Privilege, GC May Pursue Whistleblower Retaliation Suit under SOX and Dodd–Frank

California’s USDC–ND ruled that Bio-Rad Laboratories’ former General Counsel may use privileged communications to prove his retaliatory-discharge case prosecuted under Sarbanes–Oxley and Dodd–Frank’s whistleblower...more

Corporate Individual Creating a Privileged Communication May Not Control Waiving it

While companies, like people, are entitled to protect privileged communications with their counsel, companies only can act through individuals. So what happens when the former CEO wants to disclose a privileged communication...more

Does Releasing an Internal Investigation Report Always Trigger a Subject Matter Privilege Waiver?

One might think that a corporation or government entity would always trigger a subject matter privilege waiver by disclosing an internal investigation report. But subject matter waiver risks have been receding. In Hawa...more

The Attorney Client Privilege in Community Associations

Few legal concepts rival the complexities surrounding the attorney-client privilege in community association matters. The confusion about these complexities, and the resulting misunderstandings, do not discriminate, roping...more

Production of Insurance Company Claim Files In Bad Faith Litigation: Three Years After Cedell, Where Are We?

Bad faith litigation is complex and costly. In these types of cases, the discovery process often sets the initial tone of the lawsuit and the request for production of the insurer’s claim file is automatic. Typically, the...more

Tenth Circuit Applies the Bevill Standard

Although corporations' in-house and outside lawyers should scrupulously avoid accidentally creating an attorney-client relationship with employees, they can also rely on what amounts to a favorable default rule — articulated...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

After Defendant Seeks to Claw Back Attorney-Client Privileged Documents, District Court Determines Privileged Waived (Including...

The defendants produced documents in response to plaintiffs' first set of requests for production and included in the production were five documents that the defendants were later claim were subject to attorney-client...more

An Investigative Piece on Clawback Agreements

Who: Clawback agreement; alias: Rule 502 Agreement. What: A mechanism to take back inadvertently disclosed privileged and/or confidential information and protect against an argument that you waived privilege....more

Everest Indemnity Insurance Company v. Rea Rejects Implied Waiver Of The Attorney-Client Privilege

As it stands now, the majority decision in Everest is clear: No implied waiver of the attorney-client privilege occurs where adjusters themselves make the claims decisions and do not rely on the advice of counsel to form...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

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’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

Court Analyzes a Subject Matter Waiver's Scope

Once a feared effect of disclosing privileged communications (sometimes even inadvertently), subject matter waivers now occur in most courts only when a litigant attempts to gain some advantage in litigation by affirmatively...more

[Webinar] Ethics - Confidentiality Issues Re: Attorney Client Privilege and Information - June 8th, 12:00pm CT

Confusion surrounds the attorney-client privilege. Many think they have it when they do not and even if they do, they fail to appreciate how easy it is to lose. In either case, not enough attention is paid to the possibility...more

Beware of Unguarded Talk: A Cautionary Tale of Privilege Waiver in Wisconsin

Loose lips sink ships. And, at least according to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, they can sink the protections afforded to privileged communications. A decision last week in a criminal case could have considerable...more

Inadvertent Disclosure Does Not Waive Exemptions/Privileges Under the PRA

California Supreme Court Gives Public Agencies Safety Net - A public agency’s inadvertent disclosure of privileged documents under the Public Records Act does not waive the privilege, the California Supreme Court has...more

Preserving the Attorney-Client Privilege when Conducting an Internal Investigation

You may recall that, back in July 2014, we advised that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals had overturned a D.C. District Court decision in a False Claims Act case that required the results of an internal investigation, which...more

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