Stephen Riden Discusses Attorney-Client Privilege in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features discussion with Steve Riden in an article titled “Accidentally disclosed draft letter must be returned.”

The article covers a decision by a Superior Court judge in the Business Litigation Session concerning whether a litigant’s accidental disclosure of privileged information constituted a waiver of the attorney-client privilege. The decision was entered in the case titled Van Vuuren vLowenstein Sandler LLP, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 09-004-22).

The decision addresses a situation involving a party’s mistaken disclosure of a draft letter, which was attached to a motion filed in a shareholder freezeout suit. The party who received the inadvertently-disclosed document resisted a motion to compel its return and argued that the attorney-client privilege was waived. The court (Judge Kenneth W. Salinger) ruled that the accidental disclosure did not constitute a waiver of the privilege.

In the article, Steve Riden is quoted as follows:

Boston civil litigator Stephen D. Riden said he was pleased by the court’s acknowledgement that lawyers are humans and humans make mistakes.

“I think every practitioner has had that ‘Oh, no!’ moment when they fear they have accidentally produced privileged information and are worried they have done lasting damage to a client,” Riden said. “It happens all the time, but what this court is saying is that one mistake isn’t going to open the door into discovery of protected privileged communications.”

The article is by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s reporter, Eric T. Berkman.

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