U.S. District Court Rules that Results of Internal Investigations Conducted in the Ordinary Course of Business are Not Privileged and Must be Produced to Whistleblower

March 2014

A recent decision by a federal district court raises concerns about the ability of companies to claim privilege over the results of internal investigations. In United States ex rel. Harry Barko v. Halliburton Company, et al., No. 1:05-CV-1276 (D.D.C. Mar. 6, 2014) (Doc. 150), Judge James G. Gwin of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted the plaintiff-relator’s motion to compel production of materials that had been created by the defendants in connection with internal investigations of possible misconduct. This Alert analyzes the rationale behind Judge Gwin’s decision, notes the pitfalls identified by Judge Gwin, and assesses the potential impact of the decision on the ability of companies to claim privilege over materials generated in connection with internal investigations.

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