Arizona Court Protects Privilege

In Salvation Army v. Bryson, the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected the trial court’s decision to require the organization to disclose summaries of employee interviews conducted by an investigator at the direction of in-house counsel.  Properly finding the communications to be privileged under Arizona’s statutory protection of attorney-client communications, the Arizona Court of Appeals also usefully clarified the difference between the work product doctrine and attorney-client privilege (a distinction that was not grasped as well by the parties).  The Court remanded to the trial court to determine whether interviews conducted by volunteers would deserve the same protection.

ACC will follow this case with interest, particularly to see whether it is appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court.  One caution to the unwary:  Arizona’s statutory protection for privilege may differ from that offered by the federal government and other states.  Tread carefully.

HT:  Ogletree Deakins