Coito v. Superior CourtAnnotate this Case
At issue in this case was what attorney work product production, if any, should be accorded (1) recordings of witness interviews conducted by investigators employed by defendant's counsel, and (2) information concerning the identity of witnesses from whom defendant's counsel was obtained statements. Defendant objected to Plaintiff's request for discovery of these items, invoking the work product privilege. The trial court sustained the objection, concluding as a matter of law that the recorded witness interviews were entitled to absolute work product protection and that the other information sought was work product entitled to qualified protection. A court of appeals reversed, concluding that work product protection did not apply to any of the disputed items. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the recorded witness statements were entitled as a matter of law to at least qualified work product protection; and (2) information concerning the identity of witnesses from whom Defendant's counsel has obtained statements is entitled to protection if (a) Defendant can persuade the trial court that disclosure would reveal the attorney's tactics, impressions, or evaluation of the case (absolute privilege); or (b) disclosure would result in opposing counsel taking undue advantage of the attorney's industry or efforts (qualified privilege).