By Peter Rudegeair
Oct 5 (Reuters) - The city of San Jose, California, filed a
complaint on Thursday to recover confidential documents it
mistakenly provided to a law firm.
In complying with several requests made under the California
Public Records Act, San Jose turned over hundreds of documents
to the law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman between
December 2011 and June 2012.
By August, the city discovered that among those documents
were 11 email chains containing unredacted information that
either was protected by attorney-client privilege or represented
attorney work product, said San Jose City Attorney Richard
Doyle, who declined to give any more specifics.
Through several letters, phone calls and emails, the city
requested that the firm give back the privileged documents, but
Pillsbury refused. To force the matter, the city asked the Santa
Clara County Superior Court for an injunction requiring the
return of the documents and prohibiting the firm from
disseminating them any further.
The Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order on
Friday morning that prevents Pillsbury from disclosing or using
the unredacted documents pending a hearing on Nov. 6.
San Jose in the past has inadvertently released other bits
of privileged information in complying with requests for public
records, but this is the first time that a law firm has refused
to return such documents, Doyle said.
Pillsbury's reasons for not returning the documents were not
immediately clear. Spokesmen for Pillsbury did not respond to
requests for comment.
The case is City of San Jose v. Pillsbury Winthrop, Superior
Court of California, County of Santa Clara, No. 1-12-cv-233498.
For San Jose: Richard Doyle of the San Jose's City Attorneys
For Pillsbury: Not immediately available.
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook