Privilege

Gottwald v Sebert, 2018 NY Slip Op 03819 [1st Dept. 2018]

The court properly granted plaintiffs' motion to compel Kesha to produce documents. The communications between her counsel and press agents do not reflect a discussion of legal strategy relevant to the pending litigation but, rather, a discussion of a public relations strategy, and are not protected under the attorney-client privilege (see WA Rte. 9, LLC v PAF Capital LLC, 136 AD3d 522 [1st Dept 2016]). Kesha also failed to satisfy her burden to establish that the documents sought were protected work product (see Brooklyn Union Gas Co. v American Home Assur. Co., 23 AD3d 190, 191 [1st Dept 2005]).

Common-interest privilege

Saint Annes Dev. Co. v Russ, 2018 NY Slip Op 00451 [2d 2018]

 

The common-interest privilege is an exception to the traditional rule that the presence of a third party waives the attorney-client privilege (see Hyatt v State of Cal. Franchise Tax Bd., 105 AD3d 186, 205; Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, 176 Misc 2d 605, 611 [Sup Ct, NY County], affd 263 AD2d 367; In re Quigley Co., 2009 WL 9034027, *2-3, 2009 Bankr LEXIS 1352, *7-8 [Bankr SD NY]). To fall within that exception, the privileged communication must be for the purpose of furthering a legal, as opposed to a commercial, interest common to the client and the third party (see Hyatt v State of Cal. Franchise Tax Bd., 105 AD3d at 205; Delta Fin. Corp. v Morrison, 69 AD3d 669U.S. Bank N.A. v APP Intl. Fin. Co., 33 AD3d 430, 431). "The legal interest that those parties have in common must be identical (or nearly identical), as opposed to merely similar" (Hyatt v State of Cal. Franchise Tax Bd., 105 AD3d at 205; see United States v Doe, 429 F3d 450, 453 [3d Cir]; F.D.I.C. v Ogden Corp., 202 F3d 454, 461 [1st Cir]). Moreover, the communication must "relate to litigation, either pending or anticipated, in order for the exception to apply" (Ambac Assur. Corp. v Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 27 NY3d 616, 620; see Hyatt v State of Cal. Franchise Tax Bd., 105 AD3d at 205).

Priv

Ambac Assur. Corp. v DLJ Mtge. Capital, Inc., 2012 NY Slip Op 00827 (1st Dept., 2012)

Although the party challenging disclosure bears the burden of establishing that the information sought is immune from disclosure (see Spectrum Sys. Intl. Corp. v Chemical Bank, 78 NY2d 371, 376-377 [1991]), defendants here, as proponents of the motion, did not challenge [*2]the existence of a privilege until their reply. "[T]he function of a reply affidavit is to address arguments made in opposition to the position taken by the movant and not to permit the movant to introduce new arguments in support of the motion" (Ritt v Lenox Hill Hosp., 182 AD2d 560, 562 [1992]). Accordingly, the court erred in granting defendants' motion on burden grounds.

Furthermore, the " [a]t issue' waiver of privilege occurs where a party affirmatively places the subject matter of its own privileged communication at issue in litigation, so that invasion of the privilege is required to determine the validity of a claim or defense of the party asserting the privilege, and application of the privilege would deprive the adversary of vital information" (Deutsche Bank Trust Co. of Ams. v Tri-Links Inv. Trust, 43 AD3d 56, 63 [2007]). However, the fact "that a privileged communication contains information relevant to issues the parties are litigating does not, without more, place the contents of the privileged communication itself at issue' in the lawsuit" (id. at 64; see also Long Is. Light. Co. v Allianz Underwriters Ins. Co., 301 AD2d 23, 33 [2002]). Generally, no "at issue" waiver is found where the party asserting the privilege does not need the privileged documents to sustain its cause of action (see Deutsche Bank at 65).

Here, plaintiffs did not waive privilege by placing RMG's review of the loans "at issue." All references to the "third-party consultant" in their complaint could be stricken and it would still stand. Mention of a third-party consultant was not made as an element of the claim, but as a good-faith basis for the allegations made. Since plaintiffs do not "need the privileged documents to sustain [their] cause of action," they have not "waived the attorney-client privilege by injecting privileged materials into the lawsuit" (Manufacturers & Traders Trust Co. v Servotronics, Inc., 132 AD2d 392, 397 [1987]). Nor did plaintiffs waive the privilege by making a selective non-disclosure (see Carone v Venator Group, 289 AD2d 185 [2001]).

Blank Rome, LLP v Parrish, 2012 NY Slip Op 00655 (1st Dept., 2012)

Defendant agreed in the so-ordered stipulation that "any attorney-client privilege applicable to his communications with attorneys representing him is waived for the purposes of this action." By this clear and express provision, defendant waived his attorney-client privilege with respect to the privileged documents produced by Storch Amini to the extent the documents involve matters relevant to the claims and defenses in this action (see DLJ Mtge. Capital Corp., [*2]Inc. v Fairmont Funding, Ltd., 81 AD3d 563, [2011]; Vermont Teddy Bear Co. v 538 Madison Realty Co., 1 NY3d 470, 475 [2004]; Koren-DiResta Constr. Co. v New York City School Constr. Auth., 293 AD2d 189, 195 [2002]).

Soussis v Lazer, Aptheker, Rosella & Yedid, P.C., 2012 NY Slip Op 00357 (App. Div., 2nd 2012)

A waiver of the attorney-client privilege may be found where the client places the subject matter of the privileged communication in issue or where invasion of the privilege is required to determine the validity of the client's claim or defense and application of the privilege would deprive the adversary of vital information (see Hurrell-Harring v State of New York, 75 AD3d 667, 668; 601 Realty Corp. v Conway, Farrell, Curtin & Kelly, P.C., 74 AD3d 1179, 1179; Raphael v Clune White & Nelson, 146 AD2d 762, 763; Jakobleff v Cerrato, Sweeney & Cohn, 97 AD2d 834, 835). Moreover, a waiver may be found where a party engages in selective disclosure, "as a party may not rely on the protection of the privilege regarding damaging communications while disclosing other self-serving communications" (Village Bd. of Vil. of Pleasantville v Rattner, 130 AD2d 654, 655).

Contrary to the contention of the defendants third-party plaintiffs, under the circumstances presented, the plaintiff did not place the subject matter of the subject e-mail communications in issue and application of the privilege will not deprive them of vital information in defense of her claims. Nor is disclosure of the subject e-mails required under the doctrine of selective disclosure (cf. Orco Bank v Proteinas Del Pacifico, 179 AD2d 390, 390; Village Bd. of Vil. [*2]of Pleasantville v Rattner, 130 AD2d at 655). Accordingly, the Supreme Court properly denied the motion of the defendants third-party plaintiffs to compel the third-party defendant to produce certain e-mail communications withheld from disclosure on the ground that they were protected by the attorney-client privilege.

Privilege and Deposition Transcripts

CPLR R. 3116

CPLR R. 3117

CPLR § 4503 Attorney

PJI 1:76

Ramirez v Willow Ridge Country Club, Inc., 2011 NY Slip Op 03714 (App. Div., 1st 2011)

To the extent plaintiff asserts the verdict was inconsistent, the argument is unpreserved since it was not raised before the jury was discharged (see Barry v Manglass, 55 NY2d 803 [1981]). 

Plaintiff's claim that the court improperly charged the jury pursuant to PJI 1:76 that an inference could be drawn from plaintiff's refusal to waive his attorney-client privilege and allow a former paralegal at the firm which represented plaintiff in his Worker's Compensation claim to testify for the defense is without merit (Matter of Commissioner of Social Servs. v Philip De G., 59 NY2d 137, 141 [1983] ["it is now established that in civil proceedings an inference may be drawn against the witness because of his failure to testify or because he exercises his privilege to prevent another from testifying, whether the privilege is constitutional . . . or statutory"]).

Plaintiff also asserts that the court erred in precluding plaintiff's use of the EBT transcript of defendant's witness Alexander Jack — plaintiff's foreman — during cross-examination on the grounds that plaintiff failed to show that he complied with CPLR 3116. Specifically, CPLR 3116(a) provides that a deposition shall be submitted to the witness who can make changes. The witness must then sign the deposition under oath. If the witness fails to sign and return the deposition within 60 days, it may be used as fully as though signed. A failure to comply with 3116(a) results in a party being unable to use the transcript pursuant to CPLR 3117 (see Santos v Intown Assoc., 17 AD3d 564 [2005]; Lalli v Abe, 234 AD2d 346 [1996]). It is the burden of the party proffering the deposition transcript to establish compliance with CPLR 3116(a) (Pina v Flik Intl. Corp., 25 AD3d 772, 773 [2006]).

Here, the court properly precluded the use of Jack's unsigned deposition transcript during Jack's cross-examination inasmuch as plaintiff failed to establish that the transcript was sent to Jack and that he failed to return it within 60 days. Although at one point in his testimony Jack seems to state that he signed the deposition at his lawyer's office, upon further questioning, it appears that he was confused and was actually referring to taking an oath on the date the deposition was taken (see CPLR 3113[b]), rather than on a separate date when the transcript was sent to him for changes and signing pursuant to CPL 3116.

Although there is no time frame as to when a party should send a deposition transcript to a witness for compliance with CPLR 3116(a), a trial court need not adjourn a trial during the cross-examination of a witness so the that the party cross-examining the witness may comply with the section. In any event, since plaintiff does not specify any parts of the deposition that he would have used, any error would appear to be harmless.

Nor has plaintiff demonstrated that any of his other claims regarding the conduct of the trial court were so prejudicial as to deprive him of a fair trial. The rulings on admissibility of evidence were proper and, in any event, any error was harmless.

The bold is mine.  The privilege potion is probably the most interesting.