December 17, 2017

New Rule 502 Added to Colorado Rules of Evidence

The Colorado Supreme Court issued Rule Change 2016(03), adopted and effective March 22, 2016, adding a new Rule 502 to the Colorado Rules of Evidence. Rule 502, “Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product; Limitations on Waiver,” addresses disclosures of communications covered by the attorney-client privilege or work product doctrine. The rule is effective March 22, 2016. The rule is available below or on the State Judicial website.

Rule 502. Attorney-Client Privilege and
Work Product; Limitations on Waiver

The following provisions apply, in the circumstances set out, to disclosure of a communication or information covered by the attorney-client privilege or work-product protection.

(a) Disclosure Made in a Colorado Proceeding or to a Colorado Office or Agency; Scope of a Waiver. When the disclosure is made in a Colorado proceeding or to an office or agency of a Colorado state, county, or local government and waives the attorney-client privilege or work- product protection, the waiver extends to an undisclosed communication or information in a Colorado proceeding only if:
(1) the waiver is intentional;
(2) the disclosed and undisclosed communications or information concern the same subject matter; and
(3) they ought in fairness to be considered together.

(b) Inadvertent Disclosure. When made in a Colorado proceeding or to an office or agency of a Colorado state, county, or local government, the disclosure does not operate as a waiver in a Colorado proceeding if:
(1) the disclosure is inadvertent;
(2) the holder of the privilege or protection took reasonable steps to prevent disclosure; and
(3) the holder promptly took reasonable steps to rectify the error, including (if applicable) following C.R.C.P. 26(b)(5)(B).

(c) Disclosure Made in a Federal or other State Proceeding. When the disclosure is made in a proceeding in federal court or the court of another state and is not the subject of a court order concerning waiver, the disclosure does not operate as a waiver in a Colorado proceeding if the disclosure:
(1) would not be a waiver under this rule if it had been made in a Colorado proceeding; or
(2) is not a waiver under the law governing the state or federal proceeding where the disclosure occurred.

(d) Controlling Effect of a Court Order. A Colorado court may order that the privilege or protection is not waived by disclosure connected with the litigation pending before the court – in which event the disclosure is also not a waiver in any other proceeding.

(e) Controlling Effect of a Party Agreement. An agreement on the effect of disclosure in a Colorado proceeding is binding only on the parties to the agreement, unless it is incorporated into a court order.

(f) Definitions. In this rule:
(1) “attorney-client privilege” means the protection that applicable law provides for confidential attorney-client communications; and
(2) “work-product protection” means the protection that applicable law provides for tangible material (or its intangible equivalent) prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial.

For all of the Colorado Supreme Court’s adopted and proposed rule changes, click here.

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