Work-Product Doctrine

News & Analysis as of

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

Second Circuit Offers Bad News, Good News and No News

In Schaeffler v. United States, 806 F.3d 34 (2d Cir. 2015), the Second Circuit reversed a district court's holding that (1) a taxpayer waived his privilege protection by disclosing protected legal advice to his lenders, 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

Courts Analyze Work Product Doctrine Variations: Part II

Last week's Privilege Point used two cases to address federal courts' surprising variations in the work product doctrine's "litigation" and "anticipation" elements. Courts also disagree about the doctrine's "motivation"...more

Courts Analyze Work Product Doctrine Variations: Part I

Although the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure describe the work product doctrine in a single sentence, federal courts interpret that sentence in wildly varied ways. Four federal court decisions issued in just a nine-day...more

Court Analyzes Rule 30(b)(6) Witness's Preparation Duties

Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6), an entity must prepare a designated witness to testify about specified topics. This type of deposition implicates several competing principles, because (1) such witnesses must provide...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

“Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing”: The Yates Memo and the DOJ’s Focus on Individuals

On September 9, 2015, the Department of Justice issued a memo (“Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing”) to federal prosecutors nationwide implementing new policies that—for the first time—prioritize the...more

Appeals Court Clarifies Attorney-Client, Work Product Privileges in Internal Investigation Context: 3 Takeaways

In its latest review of the attorney-client and work product privileges in In re: Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc. (“In re KBR”), the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit again rejected the district court’s restrictive...more

DC Circuit reaffirms confidentiality of internal investigation communications

For the second time in 14 months, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has taken the extraordinary step of issuing a writ of mandamus to stop a federal district court from requiring a federal government contractor to...more

Public Records in Massachusetts: Legislature looks to Improve Access and Top Court Clarifies Attorney-Client and Work-Product...

The combined efforts of Massachusetts’ highest court, its legislature, and the Governor’s office are clarifying and modernizing Massachusetts public records law, which is considered by some to be one of the weakest in the...more

NLRB Limits Confidentiality in Workplace Investigations

In two decisions issued on June 26, the National Labor Relations Board overruled its longstanding precedent holding that employers may withhold witness statements from requesting unions and further held that general policies...more

Courts Disagree About Basic Work Product Doctrine Elements: Part II

Last week's Privilege Point discussed an important variation in courts' interpretation of the same sentence in their work product rule. Two other cases highlight additional disagreements: (1) the standard for overcoming...more

Focus on Tax Controversy and Litigation - Supreme Court Decides Maryland v. Wynne and Rules that Maryland Tax Scheme Is...

In This Issue: - Maryland’s Tax Scheme Ruled Unconstitutional - “FTC Generator” Case Update - FSA Rules that Equitable Disgorgement May be Deductible Expense - District Court Upholds Attorney Client...more

Claw Back of Privileged Documents Fails Where Defendants Had Used the Documents in Depositions, Expert Reports and in Briefs...

Defendants filed a motion to compel Adaptix to re-produce documents that Adaptix had clawed back on the grounds of privilege. Adaptix had early produced the documents in several productions. The Defendants argued in the...more

The Ethics of Internal Investigations, Domestic and Abroad: Protecting the Attorney Client Privilege during Internal...

The attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine are two of the oldest and most sacrosanct privileges in the law. The attorney-client privilege protects the functioning of the attorney and client...more

Tax Court Holds that Inadequate Privilege Log Subjects Putatively Privileged Documents to Disclosure

On May 26, 2015, the Tax Court issued its opinion in Pacific Management Group v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2015-97, holding that a privilege log provided to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was inadequate to sustain claims...more

Privileges Can Help Manufacturers in Product Liability Litigation, but Beware

This blog’s earlier post, “Protect Your Safety Investigations and Deliberations From Prying Eyes,” highlighted the three privileges that are useful for Safety Teams – self-critical analysis privilege (or self-evaluation...more

Do Witness Interview Memoranda Deserve Opinion or Merely Fact Work Product Protection?: Part I

Unlike the absolute attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine offers two possible levels of protection. Lawyers' (and other client representatives') opinions deserve absolute or nearly absolute protection in most...more

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