California Supreme Court Rules That Witness Statements Obtained By Attorneys Are Work Product

The California Supreme Court held last week in Coito v. Superior Court that witness statements collected by or at the direction of an attorney constitute at least qualified work product, as a matter of law. However, employers should continue to exercise caution in collecting such statements because they remain discoverable upon a showing of unfair prejudice or injustice. The Court also found that the identities of the witnesses are not protected automatically; rather, parties must provide this information if requested in discovery, unless they can show that absolute or privileged work product protection applies.

This Client Alert provides an overview of the Courts opinion in Coito, and discusses practical implications of the decision for employers.

Click here for a PDF of the full text