During these challenging times, Severson & Werson remains open and in full operation, consistent with the firm’s previously established contingency planning. While many of our attorneys and staff will be working remotely, as a firm, we continue in full operation. We are here to help, as always.


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A trust may not allow a former trustee to withhold from a successor trustee all communications between that former trustee and the trust’s legal counsel, since the attorney-client privilege vests in the office of the trustee, not in any particular person. Read More

If the issues in a insurance coverage declaratory relief action overlap the issues in the underlying litigation against the insured, the insurer cannot, over the insured’s objection, take discovery on the overlapping issues or litigate them in the declaratory relief action.   Read More

The attorney-work product privilege in documents prepared by a law firm’s employee-attorney while representing the law firm’s client is held by the law firm, not the employee-attorney who prepared the documents.  Read More

The psychotherapist-patient privilege may not be raised in opposition to producing patient records in a Medical Board investigation, but to protect the patient’s privacy rights the subpoena must be carefully tailored to request only records that are relevant and material to a compelling state interest, such as avoiding over-prescription of controlled substances. Read More

No matter how the attorney receives another party’s inadvertently produced privileged material, the attorney owes a duty to notify the privilege holder and await a court’s resolution of any dispute over existence or waiver of the privilege; failure to do so may lead to disqualification.  Read More

Attorney-client privilege does not shield communications among plaintiff, his attorney, and a third party public relations firm whom plaintiff hired to smear defendants in an attempt to induce a favorable settlement.  Read More

Defendant hospital's report to Board of Registered Nursing regarding plaintiff, a registered nurse, and her allegedly improper monitoring of a patient to whom she had given narcotics, was absolutely privileged under Civ. Code 47(b) and therefore could not be the subject of a viable defamation claim.  Read More

Neither the psychotherapist-patient privilege nor the state constitutional right of privacy is absolute, and consequently neither of these defeats the statutory requirement that mental health professionals report their patients to the police or child welfare agencies when the patients disclose that they have accessed child pornography through electronic or digital media.  Read More

Attorney fee bills may or may not be privileged, depending on whether they convey information for the purpose of legal representation, such as informing the client of the nature and amount of work being performed in a currently active, pending case Read More

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