In re: Santa Fe International Corporation

272 F.3d 705 (2001)

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In re: Santa Fe International Corporation

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
272 F.3d 705 (2001)

Facts

A group of present and former employees of offshore-drilling corporations (plaintiffs) filed an action in 2000 claiming the corporations worked together for 10 years to set limits on employee pay and benefits in violation of antitrust laws. In 1991 counsel for one of the corporations, Santa Fe International Corporation (Santa Fe) (defendant), sent a memorandum to its offshore-drilling competitors. Santa Fe asserted that although this memorandum was shared with third parties, it was still protected from disclosure in the 2000 antitrust litigation under the common-legal-interest extension of the attorney-client privilege. Santa Fe asserted it had proof that the memorandum was a confidential disclosure and discussed a common legal interest. Santa Fe admitted that the memorandum was not made or shared in anticipation of litigation—because it denied expecting any threat of antitrust litigation in 1991—but to attempt to avoid potential future litigation. The district court found that Santa Fe’s disclosure of the 1991 memorandum to its offshore-drilling competitors was not done to prepare a joint defense or discuss a common legal interest and ordered that the memorandum be produced. Santa Fe appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dennis, J.)

Dissent (Smith, J.)

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