Work-Product Doctrine

News & Analysis as of

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

Courts Focus on the Work Product Doctrine's "Motivation" Element

The work product doctrine protection rests on three elements: (1) litigation; (2) anticipation; (3) motivation. In normal civil or criminal litigation, the first element presents an easy analysis....more

Circuit Courts Explain Privilege Issue Appellate Review Standards

Attorney-client privilege issues frequently involve a complicated mixture of fact and law. Three circuit court decisions issued in a three-week period explain the basic approach that most courts take. ...more

The Northern District of Indiana Holds That Loss Reserve Information Qualifies as Protected Work Product.

In G&S Metal Consultants, Inc. v. Cont’l Cas. Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151431 (N.D. Ind. Oct. 24, 2014), the district court held that loss reserves generated in anticipated of litigation were protected under the work...more

Commercial Restructuring & Bankruptcy Alert - October 2014

In this issue: - Judge Says That Stockton, California Can Cut Pension Obligations - Third-Party Releases – Better Make Sure They Are Adequately Disclosed - Lawyers Who Sign Proofs of Claims for Clients...more

Accountant and Attorney Liability Newsbrief - Fall 2014

In This Issue: - Attorneys’ E-mails to Client’s Independent Contractor May Be Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege - New York Appeals Court Decision Allows Predecessor Counsel to Place Equal Blame on Successor...more

Court Broadens Confidentiality of Investigations - D.C. Circuit extends privilege in internal corporate probes, but inconsistent...

You are counsel to a government contractor that is conducting an internal investigation into possible fraud. Federal mandatory disclosure obligations require an investigation, as does the need to gather facts to seek legal...more

How Far Does the In-House Zone of Silence Extend?

In a recent case, a Massachusetts appellate court raised important questions about the scope of the work product doctrine for in-house lawyers. In Cahaly v. Benistar Property Exchange Trust Co., the plaintiffs sought...more

Supreme Court to Take Up Kellogg Brown & Root Whistleblower Case

It’s impossible to understate the importance of strict adherence to procedure when initiating a qui tam action under the False Claims Act. Unfortunately under our legal system, otherwise meritorious claims can often be...more

Are counsel’s coverage opinions privileged in a subsequent coverage action with the insured? NY’s first department indicates not...

On 7/31/14, the First Department held that any documents that pre-date National Union’s disclaimer are not protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege or the work-product doctrine or materials prepared in...more

Attorney-Client Privilege Protection in Internal Investigations Upheld by D.C. Circuit: Good News for Corporate Counsel

In a much-anticipated decision, the D.C. Circuit clarified the general test for the applicability of the attorney-client privilege in internal investigations. In re Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., 14-5505, 2014 WL 2895939 (D.C....more

DC Circuit Maintains Protections for Internal Investigations

Many of the privileges the law recognizes against the compelled disclosure of information exist in order to promote candor. For instance, attorney-client privilege exists because people must be able to remain open and honest...more

D.C. Circuit Clarified 4 Critical Factors Regarding Attorney-Client Privilege in Corporate Internal Investigations, Finding...

In a recent post, we discussed the D.C. Circuit’s consideration of the District Court’s decision in U.S. ex.rel Barko v. Halliburton Co. et al., Case No. 05-01276 (D.D.C. 2014), which provided an alarming perspective on the...more

Appeals Court Confirms that Results of Internal Investigation are Privileged

On June 27, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a decision in In re: Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., an important ruling which confirms the application of the attorney-client...more

Focus on Tax Controversy and Litigation - July 2014

In this issue: - Supreme Court Limits Taxpayer’s Ability to Examine the IRS at a Summons Enforcement Hearing - Court Determines Tax Analysis not Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Doctrine...more

D.C. Circuit Vacates Barko Ruling on Scope of Privilege in Internal Investigations

On June 27, 2014, the D.C. Circuit vacated the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia’s hotly-debated opinion in United States ex rel. Barko v. Halliburton Co., making it clear that internal investigation...more

Attorney-Client Privilege Protects Against Production of Internal Investigations of Fraud

If you have been worrying about a potential issue related to an audit or False Claims Act (FCA) complaint, but have been nervous to proceed with an internal investigation in case those results should come back damning and...more

D.C. Circuit Broadly Applies Attorney-Client Privilege to Internal Investigations

The attorney-client privilege broadly applies to communications made for the purpose of obtaining or providing legal advice. However, what if an internal investigation has multiple purposes, some of which are to provide legal...more

D.C. Circuit Overturns Lower Court Ruling and Reaffirms the Ability of In-House Counsel to Conduct Internal Investigations

In a significant decision issued last week reaffirming the importance of the attorney-client privilege in connection with internal investigations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed a lower court ruling...more

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