Attorney Client Privilege Waiver Third Party California

Lohman v. Superior Court (1978) 81 Cal.App.3d 90, addressed the issue of waiver in the context of the attorney-client privilege. In Lohman, the petitioner, who had previously been placed under a temporary conservatorship, had sued the temporary conservator and the attorneys who represented him. In that action, the petitioner subpoenaed records from several of her former attorneys regarding their representation in the action against the conservator. The defendant argued that the privilege protected the content of a communication between attorney and client, and once a significant part of that content had been voluntarily disclosed, that content could no longer be protected against disclosure. The court disagreed, holding instead that "it is not the content of the communication but the relationship that must be preserved and enhanced" by the existence of a privilege. (Id. at p. 97.) The court reasoned, "If the client discloses certain facts to a third person and subsequently advises his attorney of those same facts in the form of a confidential communication, there has been no waiver since, obviously, the client had not disclosed to the third person the confidential communication to the attorney, i.e., had not disclosed that certain information had been communicated to the attorney." (Ibid.)