CA Supremes Clarify Work Product Protection of Witness Statements

   Witness statements obtained through an attorney-directed interview are entitled to at least qualified work product protection. Coito v. Superior Court. A party seeking disclosure has the burden of establishing that denial of disclosure will unfairly prejudice the party in preparing its claim or defense or will result in an injustice. If the party resisting discovery alleges that a witness statement, or portion thereof, is absolutely protected because it reflects an attorney’s impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal research or theories, that party must make a preliminary or foundational showing in support of its claim. The trial court should then make an in camera inspection to determine whether absolute work product protection applies to some or all of the material. Continue reading