Thursday, December 29, 2016

Los Angeles County BOS v. Superior Court (Cal. Supreme Ct. - Dec. 29, 2016)

Today's opinion from the California Supreme Court is a close one (4-3), but ultimately holds that municipalities can be required to turn over under the Public Records Act some billing records sent by outside law firms -- at least for litigation that has already concluded.

The second paragraph of Judge Werdegar's dissent suggests that she's not fond of the ruling, and also provides a reminder that we all need to make sure to proofread one final time to ensure that any "track changes" don't get included in the final document.  That paragraph reads:

"With today‘s decision, a majority of the court undermines this pillar of our jurisprudence, finding legal invoices sent from a law firm to its client, although initially protected by the attorney-client privilege, may lose such protection once the subject litigation is concluded. This conclusion finds no support in the plain meaning of the words of the attorney-client privilege as set forth in Evidence Code section 954, and are in fact contrary to a recent decision by this court interpreting the scope of the privilege."  (underlining in original)

On the merits, it's a good debate. Both sides have reasonable positions.

But one side has 4 votes, and the other side has 3.