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Civil Procedure

Hickman v. Taylor and the Work Product Doctrine

Hickman v. Taylor and the Work Product Doctrine

Learn about the foundations of the current work product doctrine, which protects from discovery documents and tangible things prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial.


Welcome to our clip on the work-product doctrine!

We’ll start with a survey of the seminal Supreme Court case of Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495 (1947). Then, we’ll use Hickman as a backdrop to discuss Rule 26(b)(3). Rule 26(b)(3) states the modern rule, the exception to the rule, and the exception to the exception, all of which we’ll discuss.

I. The Hickman v. Taylor case

Let’s survey Hickman v. Taylor.

On February 7, 1943, a tugboat sank in the Delaware River....