Because of the volumes of information and the complexities of data found in many cases that require extensive electronic discovery, issues related to attorney-client privilege can require significant attention during the document search, review, and production processes for these cases. Addressing attorney-client privilege requires particular nuance when considering “dual-purpose communications,” in which both legal advice and business guidance are discussed. By granting certiorari to hear arguments on In re Grand Jury, 23 F. 4th 1088 (9th Cir. 2022), the US Supreme Court will consider soon a split among federal judicial circuits regarding the test to use when assessing whether attorney-client privilege applies with regard to such “dual-purpose communications.”Read More
Key Insight: The parties had cross motions requesting the production of purportedly (attorney-client) privileged documents at the end of discovery; the Defendants had been producing documents on a categorical basis. The Court had previously issued three discovery opinions that denied the assertions of privilege by Defendant(s). Defendants failed to rebut an argument by Plaintiff (opposing party) that the documents sought were confidential, accordingly, the Court order them to be produced.
In a final argument, Defendants advocated for the requested documents being produced on a document-by-document basis. The Court rejected this given Defendants previous agreement to produce the documents on a categorical basis; the Court granted the Plaintiff’s request for the production of documents.
Considering Defendants’ Motion, the Court implied that it was hypocritical for Defendants to be seeking privileged documents from Plaintiff that were similar to the same documents that they argued against producing to Plaintiff on the basis of privilege. Regardless, the Court ordered Plaintiff to produce some the purportedly privileged documents sought by Defendant. The documents that the Court stated that Plaintiff need not produce were documents not publicly available from an investigation and the tangentially related bankruptcy case concerning Plaintiff.
Nature of Case: Adversarial Bankruptcy
Electronic Data Involved: N/A
Defendant filed a Motion to Compel Plaintiff to produce documents, including source code, and Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel Defendant to disclose how it collected and searched its electronically stored information (ESI). The Court granted Plaintiff’s Motion while partially granting Defendant’s Motion.
A significant issue in both Motions was the respective parties’ collection of ESI. The Court noted that the parties failed “to engage in cooperative planning regarding ESI”, and directed the parties to confer regarding custodians and search terms of ESI collection and review. In partially granting Defendant’s Motion, the Court directed Plaintiff to further articulate its objections, but stated that some of Defendant’s discovery requests were premature even if Plaintiff was obligated to respond to them by the close of discovery.
Nature of Case: Breach of Contract
Electronic Data Involved: Electronic Documents, Source Code