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This decision affirms an order disqualifying plaintiff's attorney in a case arising from a dispute among the three principals of a closely held corporation.  Plaintiff sued the other two principals as one of those defendants' wives.  Using the corporation's computers, plaintiff accessed emails the wife sent her husband over the corporation's email server.  The decision holds that the trial court… Read More

Defendant's posts on social media about plaintiff who was a lobbyist assisting a church in seeking city council approval of a development project were not absolutely privileged under CC 47(b).  The social media posts were not made in preparation for the official proceedings before the city council.  The unprivileged social media posts were defamatory, accusing the plaintiff of engaging in… Read More

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

The litigation privilege immunized a doctor from being sued by a bus driver, after the doctor refused to certify him for a commercial driver’s license and wrote to the DMV that plaintiff posed a risk to himself and others due to specified cognitive deficits.  Read More

Psychotherapist-patient privilege protected doctor from obligation to comply with subpoena from the Medical Board, which had requested records in association with patient complaint, because before the Board moved to enforce its subpoena, the patient in question revoked his waiver of the privilege.  Read More

Although a state-law privilege exists to protect against discovery of tax returns, the privilege is not absolute, and can be overcome when another public policy outweighs the policy underlying the privilege—such as, here, the integrity of debtor examination proceedings.  Read More

The trial court erred in looking at a disputed e-mail's contents to help it decide whether the communication was privileged or whether the privilege was waived, since Evid. Code 915 forbids in camera review of prima facie privileged communications to decide privilege issues.  Read More