Monday, May 13, 2013

Asking Sherwin-Williams

A recent Rhode Island Supreme Court decision is summarized on the court's web page:

Before this Court is the appeal of Sherwin-Williams Company (Sherwin-Williams) from an order denying its motion for a protective order to prohibit the disclosure of and the use of an internal company document.  Sherwin-Williams argues that the disclosure of that document would offend both the attorney-client privilege and the work-product doctrine.  Not surprisingly, the state maintains that the document is not privileged in any way and, therefore, it is not protected from disclosure.  After reviewing the record, the Court held that Sherwin-Williams met its burden of establishing that the internal company document was factual work product, and that the state failed to meet its burden of establishing that the protected document nevertheless was discoverable because of substantial need and a resulting injustice or undue hardship.  The Court also concluded that Sherwin-Williams did not waive the protection afforded by the work-product doctrine.  Because the Court held that the internal document was shielded from discovery based on the work-product doctrine and that this protection was not waived, it did not reach the claim of attorney-client privilege.

Accordingly, the Court vacated the order of the Superior Court denying Sherwin-Williams’ motion for a protective order and remanded the case to the Superior Court.
In the opinion's introduction, the court quotes from Macbeth, Act V, Scene 5 ("To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day") and laments:  "In a case whose life begins to rival the age of the biblical Methusalah, we are confronted with another anfractuous dispute among the warring parties." (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2013/05/asking-sherwin-williams.html

Current Affairs, Privilege | Permalink

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