New Jersey court issued an opinion involving the work-product privilege

New Jersey Insurance lawyer Jared Stolz explains the issues in Paladino et. al. v. Auletto Enterprises, Inc., a recent decision from the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court involving the work-product privilege
By: Stolz and Associates
FLEMINGTON, N.J. - July 26, 2019 - PRLog -- The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division addressed the standard for evaluating a claim of work-product privilege. Insurance law attorney Jared Stolz reviewed the case in a published comment, available on his blog at

"On October 9, 2015, plaintiff Caroline Paladino was a guest at a wedding reception at defendant's catering facility. As she was walking down a staircase, she fell and injured her left knee, lower back, and right ankle."  Plaintiff reported the accident to the defendant, who was covered by a general liability insurance.  The insurer retained an investigator to conduct an investigation of the claim and also interview the plaintiff and take photographs of the accident scene. Defendant did not produce the photographs, diagram, or statements, asserting that they were protected by the work-product privilege. Plaintiff's motion to compel was granted and appeal followed.

The Appellate Division discussed the work-product privilege and its application in this case, clarifying that precedent is not inconsistent and "both Pfender and Medford should be understood to require a case-by-case, fact-specific analysis."  "The first inquiry is whether the materials were prepared or collected in anticipation of litigation or trial by another party or that party's representative."  "If the materials were prepared in anticipation of litigation or trial, to obtain the materials, there is a two-part standard that must then be satisfied. The party seeking the materials must (1) show a substantial need for the discovery; and (2) demonstrate that he or she is unable, without undue hardship, to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials." (internal citations omitted). Thus, the Court remanded the matter to the trial court for application of the rule consistent with the opinion.

*** Jared Elliott Stolz is an attorney in New Jersey, focusing on insurance law and litigation.

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