Tag: Privilege or Work Product Protections

1
Consultus, LLC v. CPC Commodities (W.D. Mo. 2022)
2
Collins v. ControlWorx, LLC (M.D. La. 2021)
3
Addi v. Corvias Management-Army, LLC (D. Md. 2021)
4
Maxus Liquidating Trust v. YPF (Bankr. D. Del 2021)
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Axis Insurance Company v. American Specialty Insurance & Risk Services, Inc. (N.D. Ind. 2021)
6
Krishnan v. Cambia Health Solutions, Inc. (W.D. Wash. 2021)
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Lake v. Charlotte County Board of County Commisioners (M.D. Fla. 2021)
8
Aviles v. S&P Global, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 2021)
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Boegh v. Harless (W.D. Ky. 2021)
10
Healthedge Software, Inc. v. Sharp Health Plan (D. Mass. 2021)

Consultus, LLC v. CPC Commodities (W.D. Mo. 2022)

Key Insight: Plaintiffs argue that defendants’ claims of privilege should be overruled due to the crime-fraud exception. Defendants withheld emails claiming work product and attorney-client privilege. Plaintiffs have not argued that the emails are not covered by either the work product doctrine or the attorney-client privilege. The purpose of the crime-fraud exception is to assure that the “seal of secrecy” between lawyer and client does not extend to communications “made for the purpose of getting advice for the commission of a fraud or crime.” In order to avail itself of the crime-fraud exception, the party seeking disclosure must satisfy a threshold showing of “a factual basis adequate to support a good faith belief by a reasonable person that the [party asserting the privilege] was engaged in intentional fraud and communicated with counsel in furtherance of the fraud.” The court found that plaintiffs’ assertions do not satisfy the threshold showing as they amount to conjecture since there is no other evidence that the communications were made in furtherance of a crime or fraud.

Nature of Case: Antitrust

Electronic Data Involved: Emails

Case Summary

Collins v. ControlWorx, LLC (M.D. La. 2021)

Key Insight:

Defendant filed a Motion to Compel Plaintiff to produce audio recordings, hard drives, social media posts. Defendants’ Motion was granted. At least a portion of the data that Plaintiff was obligated to produce had been destroyed and/or missing due to a flood. After Plaintiff informed it of us, Defendant agreed to provide Plaintiff with an extension of time to correct his deficient discovery responses. Contingent on time for Plaintiff to allow his deposition to be retaken.

In his Response to Defendant’s Motion, Plaintiff did not assert that he complied with his discovery obligations but rather than production of the information sought was unreasonably cumulative or duplicative. For approximately 18 requests for production, Plaintiff failed to provide a response or objection, and failed to timely supplement his responses.

The Court granted largely Defendant’s Motion to Compel, ordering Plaintiff to respond to its requests for production, and supplement his responses to interrogatories, but also limiting Plaintiff’s responses to documents that would not require disclosure of attorney-client privilege and/or information that was not overly broad. Moreover, the Court ordered Plaintiff to appear for an additional supplemental deposition and also state that electronically stored information relevant to the litigation was actually destroyed (due to flooding) and submit the damaged storage devises for expert inspection. The

respective parties were responsible for their own attorney’s fees and costs regarding the discovery issues.

Nature of Case: Employment Discrimination, Family and Medical Leave Act

Electronic Data Involved: Hard Drives, Audio Recordings, Social Media Posts

Case Summary

Addi v. Corvias Management-Army, LLC (D. Md. 2021)

Key Insight: Work-product privilege protects documents prepared in anticipation by a party, its attorneys, or its consultants and agents. A consulting expert’s analysis and reports is protected work product. However, a consulting expert becomes a fact witness when it also acts a scheduler, inspector, or remediator. No protection would apply to those activities. The capacity in which the third party was acting will determine whether documents are work product. Raw data is not protected. However, the decision that certain subsets or compilations of data are relevant in advising the client or preparing the defense is protected. Opinions regarding such information to assist in advising or preparing the defense are also protected.

Nature of Case: Class Action, Tort

Electronic Data Involved: Raw Data, Report Logs, Electronic Documents Generally

Case Summary

Maxus Liquidating Trust v. YPF (Bankr. D. Del 2021)

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

Case Summary

Krishnan v. Cambia Health Solutions, Inc. (W.D. Wash. 2021)

Key Insight: Defendant cannot be compelled to produce text messages from employees’ personal cell phones because they did not have possession, custody, or control of the devices. An employer has possession, custody, or control of a cell phone when the employer issued the cell phone, the cell phone is used for business purposes, and the employer has a legal right to obtain communications from the cell phone.

An email does not become privileged simply by including counsel as a recipient to an email. If the email was not sent with the purpose of obtaining legal advice, it is not privileged.

An independent forensic examination of electronic devices for electronic communications is appropriate when a party intentionally delays or withholds relevant and discoverable communications.

Nature of Case: Wrongful Termination, Employment Law

Electronic Data Involved: Text Messages, Email

Case Summary

Lake v. Charlotte County Board of County Commisioners (M.D. Fla. 2021)

Key Insight: Communications between a party and its hired legal consultant are work product if they are generated in anticipation of litigation. Work product containing mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories concerning the litigation is rarely discoverable and enjoy “near absolute immunity.” Documents subpoenaed from the legal consultant still retain work product privilege.

Instead of providing privilege logs, the court allowed the legal consultants to categorically withhold or redact privileged communications so long as they provided a certification that none of withheld or redacted documents were distributed to or reviewed by any other third parties. In lieu of such certification, the legal consultants would have to produce a privilege log.

Nature of Case: Property, Eminent Domain

Electronic Data Involved: Email, Electronic Communications

Case Summary

Aviles v. S&P Global, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 2021)

Key Insight: Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Compel to allow them unfettered access to all information located on a server. Defendant objected, claiming that Plaintiffs had no legal right to the server, and information on the server was irrelevant, confidential and/or privileged. The Court found that the request (Motion to Compel) was overbroad and premature, and denied Plaintiffs’ Motion.

Nature of Case:Fraud, Shareholder Suit, Diversity Jurisdiction

Electronic Data Involved: Hard Drive, Server,

Case Summary

Boegh v. Harless (W.D. Ky. 2021)

Key Insight: The pro se plaintiff was ordered to produce social media (Facebook) content relating to the events at issue in the amended complaint. Based on his public Facebook posts, plaintiff commented extensively on the case and identified evidence and witnesses. Plaintiff argued that defendants already had the information from the public posts, but the court found there is a strong indication plaintiff was withholding relevant and discoverable evidence that was private in his account.

Nature of Case: Civil rights – personal injury

Electronic Data Involved: Social media

Case Summary

Healthedge Software, Inc. v. Sharp Health Plan (D. Mass. 2021)

Key Insight:

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

Case Summary

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