To: "SEAOC Newsletter" <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Subject: RE: Ethical Responsibility?
From: Christopher Wright <chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 01 23:50:05 -0500
>The way I understand it is, if you make a report to an attorney, that
>attorney is not required to make that information public and the report
>cannot be subpoenaed from him/her. However, if you make a report to an
>individual, that report may be subpoenaed ("produce all records, reports,
>letters, computer files, etc.") by other parties and *must* be produced.
In the course of some expert testimony I did some reports that the
attorney said he considered 'work product' and non-discoverable, so they
wouldn't need to be turned over to opposing counsel. I never heard a
complete definition of the term, but it really didn't concern anything
besides written materials. I would not be confronted with any work
product materials in testimony, but nothing in the reports could have
been withheld in cross examination if it came up. I conclude that the
report itself is considered priveleged, but not necessarily the findings
or opinions contained .
I had a case where my investigation revealed a very serious defect that
had already casued injuries. I was retained by an attorney who acted as a
sort of gate-keeper to keep my reports out of a manufacturer's files.
Reports went to him, otherwise, my contacts were to be with the
manufacturer. At one point I was forced to write to the attorney
explaining I could not perform some associated design work because the
requested approach involved big reliability issues. I explained why and
indicated the possible consequences and outlined some alternatives. I
think the attorney got the idea and nothing more was said.
Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com | this distance" (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)
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