Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Investigative Report Of Outside Counsel Not Discoverable

The Delaware Supreme Court has affirmed a Court of Chancery decision to deny a litigant access to a report prepared by outside counsel (Covington & Burling) for Hewlett-Packard Company in connection with an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by former Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd.

The allegations at issue came from attorney Gloria Allred on behalf of a client named Jodie Fisher, a former HP contractor. Hurd reached a confidential settlement and departed HP.

The company was then the subject of shareholder derivitave actions. The plaintiff here had filed an action seeking access to HP's books and records.

The court concluded that the plaintiff had failed to show that the report "is essential to his stated purpose, which is to investigate possible corporate wrongdoing." (Mike Frisch)


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