Latest Developments in California’s Discovery Law

Posted on June 16, 2010. Filed under: Business Law, Consumer, employment law | Tags: , , , , , , |

Alreen Haeggquist, partner at Zeldes & Haeggquist, LLP published her esteemed third annual summary of the latest developments in California’s discovery law.  Alreen keeps the bar abreast of the latest developments from the judiciary. 2009 was a busy year.  Highlights from 2009’s developments:  California courts now have new discovery rules to interpret due to the passage of the California Electronic Discovery Act (the “Act”). The Act, which Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law on June 29, 2009, models the Federal E-Discovery Rules and creates new rules to specifically address issues related to electronically stored information. The Courts also issued key decisions impacting privilege and confidentiality of attorney work product.  For example, last year, the California Supreme Court ruled that a written attorney-client privileged communication that also contain unprivileged information is entirely protected from disclosure and parties are not required to make an in camera disclosure of the information for a ruling on a claim of attorney-client privilege.  The appellate courts also issued a number of decisions affecting the discovery rules in California.  First, the First District Court of Appeal issued sanctions against a party for making meritless objections and providing evasive responses.  Second, the Second District Court of Appeal held that a court must weigh the potential for abuse of the class action procedure against the rights of the parties when a named class action plaintiff who never had standing seeks precertification discovery to identify a substitute class representative.  Finally, the Fifth District Court of Appeal recently held that witness statements taken by an attorney or an attorney’s representatives are not permitted by the attorney work-product privilege.

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