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United States District Court for the Central District of California
November 4, 2015, Decided; November 4, 2015, Filed
CV 11-3473-CBM (PJWx)
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
Proceedings: Order re: Defendants' Motion to Compel Production of Documents Improperly Withheld on Privilege Grounds (Doc. Nos. 312, 360, 591.)
Before the Court is Defendants' motion to compel Plaintiffs to produce documents, which Plaintiffs contend are protected by the attorney-client privilege. (Doc. No. 360.) For the following reasons, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.
II. SUMMARY OF FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
This action arises out of a dispute between Plaintiffs, sugar producers and their allied interest groups, and Defendants, high fructose corn syrup producers and their allied interest groups. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants are guilty of false advertising for labeling and marketing high fructose corn syrup as corn sugar or sugar.
The discovery dispute now before the Court focuses on two groups of documents. The first group contains communications by and between third party Citizens for Health ("CFH"), a group that opposed Defendants' efforts to market high fructose corn syrup as sugar, and Hollenbeck Associates, a public relations firm CFH hired to help CFH carry out its work. At the time these documents were created, [*6] CFH's Chairman was Jim Turner, an attorney who also served as CFH's in-house counsel. Plaintiffs contend that Turner's communications with Hollenbeck are protected from disclosure under the attorney-client privilege. Defendants disagree. They argue that Plaintiffs have not established that Hollenbeck was acting as an employee of CFH or that the communications between Turner and Hollenbeck were confidential, attorney-client communications. In Defendants' view, the communications focus on public relations and marketing, which are not privileged.
The second group of documents Plaintiffs have withheld are communications between Plaintiffs and like-minded groups who opposed Defendants' efforts to market high fructose corn syrup as sugar. Plaintiffs contend that these documents are protected under the "common interest" or "joint defense" privilege--an offshoot of the attorney client privilege--in that they were drafted in furtherance of Plaintiffs' efforts to stop Defendants' false advertising, which was harmful to Plaintiffs' legal interests.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182624 *
Western Sugar Cooperative, et. al. v. Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, et. al.
Prior History: Western Sugar Coop. v. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158252 (C.D. Cal., Oct. 19, 2011)
documents, communications, sugar, marketing, public relations, corn syrup, attorney-client, fructose, privileged, parties, common interest, advice