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In re Chevron Corp.

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20192
Nos. Nos. 10-4699, 11-1099, (3d Cir., 05/25/2011) discovery motions denied

The Third Circuit reversed a lower court order granting an oil company's application to engage in discovery for use in an environmental class action before an Ecuadorian court under 28 U.S.C. §1782(a). The lower court ruled that the attorney-client privilege asserted by the Ecuadorian plaintiffs was waived since the communications were shown in the documentaryCrude, which chronicled the litigation. But due to the presence of the filmmakers, the communications were not made in confidence and are not privileged. As such, there was no privilege to waive by their disclosure. The public disclosure of non-privileged communications does not lead to a subject matter waiver of the attorney-client privilege for communications covered by the privilege. Nevertheless, the court remanded the matter to the lower court so that it may consider the oil company's contention that certain communications are discoverable pursuant to the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege.