Privilege

Protecting privileges.

April 19, 2024

There’s No Right or Wrong Answer – But There Are Mistakes

In Rayome v. ABT Electronics, 2024 WL 1435098 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 3, 2024), the court wrote that “it would be in the parties’ interest to reach a negotiated result. It should not be forgotten that a party could be ‘right,’ but find itself on the losing side of a court’s ruling.”[1] A […]
April 9, 2024

How Much Detail is Enough in a Privilege Log?

In Southern Pine Credit Un. v. Southwest Marine & Gen’l. Ins. Co., et al., 2024 WL 1361891 (M.D. Ga. Mar. 29, 2024), the court addressed the amount of detail that must be in a privilege log. Southern Pine brought a breach of contract action after its claim on a dishonesty bond was […]
April 8, 2024

What Happens When Parties Fail to Negotiate a Privilege Log in Good Faith?

In Kyle Rayome v. ABT Electronics, 2024 WL 1435098 (N.D. Ill. 2024), the court wrote that it “would prefer this case not go to the dark place where attorneys on one side demand that the attorneys on the other side provide declarations in which they swear they are telling the truth about […]
March 4, 2024

Privilege Logs:  New Techniques to Achieve Proportionality – The “Certification Log”

  Privilege logs have been getting a lot of attention, with good reason. “Privilege logging is arguably the most burdensome and time consuming task a litigant faces during the document production process.”  The Sedona Conference, “Commentary on Protection of Privileged ESI,” 17 Sed. Conf. J. 97 (2016).  Likely that is due to […]
February 21, 2024

Rusty Texts: Sending Privileged Information to Clients

In ‘Rust’ Armorer’s Phone Snafu Shows Risks Of Texting Clients – Law360 (Feb. 13, 2024), Phillip Bantz wrote: “A legal dust-up over compromised text messages between a movie prop weapons expert and her lawyer in the ‘Rust’ film shooting case raises questions about whether attorneys should text with clients and serves as […]
January 2, 2024

“ESI Protocol” v. “Discovery Plan”

“ESI Protocols” are discussed in judicial opinions, articles, webinars, and blogs.  They are flexible and useful; however, they may not meet all of the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(f).  After a Rule 26(f) conference, that Rule requires a “report” with a “discovery plan” that contains information that may not be in an ESI […]
January 2, 2024

Hallucinations: “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!” 

Oliver Hardy, of Laurel and Hardy fame, said: “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”  That’s what happened with the citation of three non-existent cases in a motion for early termination of supervised release that was filed in U.S. v. Cohen, 2023 WL 8635521 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 12, 2023). In a […]
December 6, 2023

Sedona Conference’s 2023 Case Law Bibliography by Phil Favro

As we approach the end of the year, it is an appropriate time to review Philip J. Favro, ed., Selected eDiscovery and ESI Case Law from 2023  (The Sedona Conf. 2023). Phil’s publication is an annual event.  Book Review:  Phil Favro’s “Selected eDiscovery and ESI Case Law from 2022-23″;  Sedona Conference “Selected […]
November 10, 2023

“Self Help” Discovery in Someone Else’s Dropbox is Held to be Sanctionable

“A trial-level judge in New York has sanctioned [attorneys’ name deleted] for ‘rummaging’ through the Dropbox of its litigation opponent after a third-party vendor accidentally revealed the link in discovery.” D. Cassens Weiss, Unauthorized ‘rummaging’ through opponent’s Dropbox leads to sanction against this law firm (abajournal.com)(Oct. 9, 2023); see also M. Laus, […]
August 14, 2023

Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

On May 11, 2023,the federal Advisory Committee on Civil Rules (the “Advisory Committee”)   sent its Report to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (the “Rules Committee”). The Advisory Committee recommended a “small” amendment to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(a), “small amendments” to Rules 16(b)(3) and 26(f)(3), a new rule on MDL proceedings, and […]
August 4, 2023

Privilege and a Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition?

Thomas Spahn of McGuireWoods LLP has written an interesting post on the interplay between the attorney-client privilege and a Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) deposition of a corporate designee.  The Strange Fiction of Rule 30(b)(6) | McGuireWoods LLP – JDSupra  (Aug, 3, 2023). The blog highlights Damarr-Faruq v. City of Pleasantville P.D., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS […]
April 5, 2023

Maryland Bar Journal Article on Attorney-Client Privilege

The Maryland State Bar Journal published my article on the Supreme Court’s recent dismissal of an attorney-client privilege case.  The first page is reprinted below.
March 21, 2023

Sidley Austin Blog on Interrogatory That Invaded Work Product

Sidley Austin LLP’s excellent blog, March’s Notable Cases and Events in E-Discovery | Insights | Sidley Austin LLP, describes an interesting work product decision. The blog reported that, in  Securities and Exchange Commission v. Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, et al., 2023 WL 1793870 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 7, 2023), the SEC’s interrogatory to Volkswagen asked […]
February 6, 2023

“‘If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It’: U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Case on Attorney-Client Privilege”

The Supreme Court’s recent dismissal of In Re Grand Jury, 598 U.S. ___, 143 S.Ct. 543 (2023), leaves the Ninth Circuit’s “primary purpose” analysis of so-called “dual purpose” communications intact as the test for privilege.  For a good analysis, see GreenbergTraurig’s blog, quoted in the title bar of this blog, ‘If It Ain’t Broke, […]
May 29, 2022

Historical ESI Highlights – Part VI – Victor Stanley and Keyword Searching

The prior blog discussed the historical acceptance of technology assisted review.  However, keyword searching remains an important and useful tool.  Mark Twain wrote: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated….”  The same may be true of keyword searching. While there are many decisions and articles on keyword searching, one of the […]
May 27, 2022

Historical ESI Highlights – Part IV – Hopson & Fed.R.Evid. 502

Protection of privilege and work product material is costly and complex when it is buried in voluminous ESI. An opinion of the Hon. Paul W. Grimm, Hopson v. Mayor of Baltimore, 232 F.R.D. 228 (D. Md. 2005), prompted Congress to change the law and enact Fed.R.Evid. 502. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(5) created the “clawback” […]
May 16, 2022

Information Governance – Mis(?)-Labeling Documents as Privileged (Part IV)

Google’s “communicate with care” program has garnered a lot of attention.[1] It allegedly instructed employees to label any written communications on a certain topic as privileged and send them to in-house counsel.  The Department of Justice sought sanctions and an order compelling disclosure, asserting that the policy was pretextual. Google replied that […]
April 9, 2022

Information Governance – Mis(?)-Labeling Documents as Privileged (Part III)

When the Department of Justice alleged that Alphabet Inc.’s Google was camouflaging ordinary documents as privileged, I – and many others – posted abut information governance.  When Google responded that the government’s allegation was “baseless” and that it had spent 21,000 hours on privilege review, I also reported that.  Information Governance – […]
April 2, 2022

Maryland v. Federal Clawback and Privilege Non-Waiver Rules

I have written about several differences between the Maryland Rules and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  See  Maryland v. Federal Rule Regarding a Mandatory Conference of the Parties, Maryland v. Federal Summary Judgment Rule, and  M. Berman & A. Shelton,  “Commentary: With ESI, difference between federal, state rules,” The Daily Record (June […]
March 26, 2022

Discovery of Steps Taken to Implement a Litigation Hold is Permitted

Much has been written about the discoverability of litigation hold notices. Are Litigation Hold Notices Discoverable?,  When is a Litigation Hold Notice Discoverable? — When a Litigation Hold is Defective, and When is a Litigation Hold Notice Discoverable? The flip side of the coin is whether the steps taken by a potential […]
March 23, 2022

Information Governance – Mis(?)-Labeling Documents as Privileged

Mar. 25, 2022 UPDATE: B. Ford and M. Bergen, Google Disputes DOJ Claim It Hid Documents in Lawyer Emails (bloomberglaw.com) (Mar. 24, 2022). Alphabet Inc.’s Google is pushing back on U.S. Justice Department claims that it improperly used attorney-client privilege to conceal documents in the government’s monopoly lawsuit against the company. “None of the […]
November 17, 2021

Categorical Privilege Log Presented Interpretive Issues

Categorical privilege logs can save time and money.  “The concept of categorical privilege logs in connection with ESI is not new.”  M. Berman, et al., eds., “Managing E-Discovery and ESI” (ABA 2011), 356; Blog, Categorical Privilege Logs: Don’t Shoot a Mouse with an Elephant Gun – E-Discovery LLC (ediscoveryllc.com) (Mar. 25, 2021). […]
August 30, 2021

Expanding Privilege Protection to Fill the Gaps Left by Fed.R.Evid. 502

Federal Rule of Evidence 502 was passed in 2008 by a unanimous vote in the Senate, overwhelmingly in the House, and signed by President George W. Bush.  Anything with that degree of support has to be good and Rule 502 provides substantial and necessary benefits. An excellent publication describes the rule in […]
August 27, 2021

Waiver of Work Product Protection in Deposition Preparation Sessions

In Johnson v. Baltimore Police Dept., 2021 WL 1985014 (D. Md. May 18, 2021) (Boardman, J.), the Court addressed waiver of work product protection by showing documents to a third-party witness in deposition preparation. Twice before the deposition, plaintiff’s counsel showed three documents, several photographs, and one audio file to the deponent.  […]
March 25, 2021

Categorical Privilege Logs: Don’t Shoot a Mouse with an Elephant Gun

It is axiomatic that privilege logging is one of the most time-consuming and risky aspects of e-discovery. I wrote about itemized and categorical privilege logs in M. Berman, et al., eds., “Managing E-Discovery and ESI: From Pre-Litigation Through Trial” (ABA 2011), Chap. 5.  In an itemized log, every email and every attachment […]
March 16, 2021

Electronic Communications to a Class Action Advertising Web Site Deemed Not Privileged

Top Class Actions (“TCA”) ran a website “that provides information, among other things, about class actions, class action settlements, and class action investigations.”  The site contained attorney advertising and articles concerning class actions and mass torts.  Defendants served a subpoena on TCA seeking, among other things, communications from claimants and with law […]
March 12, 2021

Can a Lawyer Ethically “Reply All” to an Opposing Client?

New Jersey Ethics Opinion 739 (Mar. 10, 2021), again points to the dangers of copying one’s client on communications to opposing counsel. I discussed the ethical dangers of attorneys using “reply all” in a prior post.  If an attorney “cc’s” the attorney’s client on a communication to opposing counsel, what happens when […]
February 14, 2021

Marc Hirschfeld’s Legal Week Presentation

Marc Hirschfeld’s presentation at Legal Week, “Navigating the Pitfalls of E-Discovery for Boutique Litigators,” is well worth watching on Vimeo and Legal Week. Marc is the owner and president of Precision Legal Services.  Marc and I have collaborated on many projects. Marc discusses a number of topics in the one-hour video.  Among […]
January 16, 2021

Courts Cannot Order a “Quick Peek” Without Consent

In U.S. Equal Employment Opp. Comm’n. v. The George Washington University, 2020 WL 3489478 (D.D.C. June 26, 2020), the court held that a party cannot be ordered to provide a “quick peek” without its consent.  In doing so, it carefully analyzed and rejected contrary precedent. In Fairholme Funds, Inc. v. U.S., 134 […]
December 27, 2020

Searching for Privileged Information

As if searching for privileged information prior to production was not already difficult enough, Jessica A. Huse, Esq., has blogged about a potential complication.  See J. Huse, “Pushing the Limit: The District of Oregon Concludes that the Attorney-Client Privilege May Apply to Communications Not Involving Attorneys” (Gibbons Law Alert Dec. 22, 2020). […]
December 1, 2020

When is a Litigation Hold Notice Discoverable?

A recent ABA practice point described Radiation Oncology Servs. of Cent. N.Y., P.C. v. Our Lady of Lourdes Mem’l Hosp., Inc., 2020 NY Slip Op 20133, ¶ 2, 69 Misc. 3d 209, 126 N.Y.S.3d 873, 875 (Sup. Ct.) (decided June 9, 2020) (Masler, J.). In Radiation Oncology, the court addressed when a litigation hold […]