Thursday, January 08, 2009

C.D. Cal.: Discovery "Settlement Privilege" Does Not Exist

Real Estate Alliance Ltd. v. National Association of Realtors et al. (2-08-cv-01657) CACD (December 23, 2008)

In a patent case, the plaintiff requested that defendant "produce all documents relating to its settlement with Mr. Freedman - including the settlement agreement itself, drafts thereof, all correspondence between REAL and Mr. Freedman, and any communication concerning Mr. Freedman’s Open Letter (collectively the 'Freedman Discovery')."

The defendant objected to the admissibility of the request, relying in part on a "settlement privilege." The court sided with the plaintiff:

The materials sought are relevant, or at least potentially so. If nothing else, they might lead to something that is admissible. There is no settlement privilege immunizing settlement agreements or settlement negotiations from discovery. Although the cases are not unanimous on the point, the better - and majority - view is that such a privilege does not exist . . . Defendant need not produce attorney work product that was not disclosed to Freedman, provided that such materials are listed in a privilege log.

Read the ruling here (link)

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