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Work-product doctrine

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Overview Edit

The work-product doctrine protects materials prepared in anticipation of litigation from discovery by opposing counsel.[1] It is also known as the work-product rule, the work-product immunity, the work-product privilege (somewhat erroneous terminology), and the work-product exception.

The doctrine Edit

Under the work-product doctrine, "tangible material or its intangible equivalent" that is collected or prepared in anticipation of litigation is not discoverable,[2] and may be shielded from discovery by a protective order, unless the party seeking discovery can demonstrate that the sought facts can only be obtained through discovery and that those facts are indispensable for impeaching or substantiating a claim.[3] That is, the party unable to obtain the information has no other means of obtaining the information without undue hardship. For example, the witness may have left the country. Where the required showing is made, the court will still protect mental impressions of an attorney by redacting that part of the document containing the mental impressions.

References Edit

  1. Black's Law Dictionary, "Work-product rule" 1298 (West Group 2000).
  2. Id.
  3. Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495 (1947)(full-text).

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