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Stadish v. Superior Court

California Court of Appeal
84 Cal. Rptr. 2d 350 (1999)


Joseph and Lyn Stadish (plaintiffs) sued the Southern California Gas Company (Gas Company) (defendant), alleging injuries from exposure to toxic chemicals coming from an underground natural-gas storage field. Lyn served a request for production of documents on the Gas Company. The Gas Company responded to the document requests, including making objections based on attorney-client and work-product privileges. The Gas Company also provided 40 boxes of documents for Lyn to review along with a privilege log. Lyn’s counsel and an associate, Bernard Endres, reviewed the documents and selected approximately half to be copied. Joseph then served a separate document-production request. The Gas Company discovered that Endres had previously protested and campaigned against the Gas Company’s projects. The Gas Company then refused to provide the requested copies to Lyn, alleging that Endres was likely to improperly use the documents outside the litigation for his own political agenda and economic interests. For the first time, the Gas Company asserted that the documents contained trade secrets and other proprietary information. The Gas Company never responded to Joseph’s document requests. Lyn and Joseph filed a motion to compel production of the requested documents. In response, the Gas Company filed a motion for a protective order based on the trade-secret privilege. The trial court denied the plaintiffs’ motion to compel and granted the Gas Company’s motion for a protective order. Lyn and Joseph appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Mallano, J.)

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