A paralegal’s mistake of sending a banker’s box full of privileged documents to opposing counsel waived the attorney-client privilege over the documents, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled Jan. 18 (Amgen Inc. v. Hoechst Marion Roussel Inc., D. Mass., No. 97-10814-WGY, 1/18/00).

A court must consider a number of circumstances related to unexpected disclosures before determining whether the privilege was waived, the court said. These factors include the extent of the precautions taken to prevent a mistaken disclosure, the amount of time it took to realize the error, the extent of the disclosure, and the overriding interests of fairness.