e-Discovery California: “Elementary, My Dear Watson”…

MP900178861 Holmes v. Petrovich Development Co. (Cal. Ct. App. – Jan. 13, 2011)

In this decision from the Third Appellate District of California, the Court found that Holmes’ emails did not fall under the protection of attorney-client privilege (warning – link opens a 40-page PDF of the ruling).


Because she wrote them on a company computer with the knowledge that the company had a “we own the data” policy.

YMMV (that’s my cute way of telling you, other state laws are contra, e.g. New Jersey’s Stengart).  From that post:

“I suppose if I simply admonish you not to use your company collateral for personal purposes, you’re going to ignore me, but it’s missing the point, anyway.  You can’t un-ring the bell.  Sure, I understand that, in this case, they were forced to return the emails and there was to be a decision as to whether the law firm that read the emails could even continue in their representation, but the bottom line is, the emails were still read.”

A little fun fact?  Holmes never said, “Elementary, My Dear Watson”.