Heriot v. Byrne, No. 08 C 2272, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill., Apr. 9, 2008) (Ashman, Mag. J.).

Judge Ashman issued this Order finding that certain of defendants’ allegedly privileged documents were privileged and ordering that others be produced.  The Court did not discuss specific documents or the analysis that went into the decisions.  But the Court  did provide the following list of general explanations for why some documents asserted to be privileged were in fact not privileged and had to be produced:

  • not confidential;
  • did not reveal privileged communications, directly or indirectly; or
  • the advice was that of accountants, not lawyers, and was not used to assist the lawyers in giving legal advice.

Both young lawyers preparing privilege logs and senior lawyers reviewing them for exchange would do well to read this list.  It covers most of the common reasons documents are erroneously withheld as privileged.