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Brown v. NCL (Bah.), Ltd.

United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division

December 9, 2015, Decided; December 9, 2015, Filed

CASE NO. 15-21732-CIV-LENARD/GOODMAN

Opinion

 [*1336]  ORDER RE: REQUESTED DISCLOSURE OF WORK PRODUCT

"The motive, the measure, the purpose, the pleasure."

- The Red Hot Chili Peppers, from the song We Believe1

What happens when a cruise ship operator gives a copy of a passenger-drafted statement for which it asserts work-product protection to the port police in connection with an alleged on-board sexual assault of another passenger? At a minimum, these questions are generated:

(1) Does the cruise ship operator waive the work-product protection? (2) Does the answer depend on whether the cruise ship operator voluntarily provided a copy of the work-product document or whether it was compelled to do so? (3) What if the cruise ship operator was not required [**2]  to turn over the document but did so in response to a mere request from law enforcement? (4) Does it matter if the cruise ship itself (including its top on-board management and staff) is not under criminal investigation? (5) Does the cruise ship's purpose in providing a copy to law enforcement factor into the analysis?

For the reasons outlined in greater detail below, the answers are: (1) it depends; (2) it very well might; (3) it makes waiver more likely; (4) yes; and (5) yes, again.

Applying these results to the specific facts of this case, the Undersigned upholds the work-product claim asserted by Defendant NCL (Bahamas) Ltd. ("NCL") and finds that NCL did not waive work-product protection by giving a copy of a one-page, work-product document to port police upon request.

Factual Background

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155 F. Supp. 3d 1335 *; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165346 **; 2015 WL 8484532

BONNIE J. BROWN, Plaintiff, v. NCL (BAHAMAS), LTD., Defendant.

Prior History: Brown v. NCL (Bah.), Ltd., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148114 (S.D. Fla., Oct. 30, 2015)

CORE TERMS

work-product, disclosure, port, waived, written statement, cruise ship, work product, confidential, deposition, motivation, passenger, law enforcement, log book, preparation, attacked, one-page, assault, serious bodily injury, government agency, Attorney-Client, circumstances, discovery, documents, parties