Shanahan v. Superior Court, 2010 WL 2840254 (Cal. Ct. App. July 21, 2010)

Key Insight: Court ruled against waiver as to privileged documents sent from and stored on deceased employee?s work computer where the employee had a reasonable expectation of privacy under the ?unusual circumstances? presented, including that the employee believed he was permitted to communicate with his attorney via his computer because the attorney was paid for by the company for the purpose of negotiating employee?s employment agreement and because of the failure of the employer?s use policy to expressly negate the expectation of privacy by failing to specifically reference waiver of attorney-client privilege, among other reasons; court also ruled that dissemination of a draft memo to the employee?s secretary did not waive privilege where the secretary was assigned to the employee, frequently edited and printed documents for the employee, and understood that such documents were to be kept confidential

Nature of Case: As executor, widow sued husband’s employer for breach of compensation agreement

Electronic Data Involved: Privileged emails, ESI

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