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In a matter of first impression for a Pennsylvania appellate court, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has taken a hard line on the inadvertent disclosure of privileged documents. See Carbis Walker, LLP v. Hill, Barth & King, LLC, ___ A.2d ___, 2007 WL 2080599, 2007 PA Super. 221 (2007). Attorneys in the midst of sometimes hectic or complicated discovery proceedings can learn a valuable lesson from the decision.

In Carbis Walker, accounting/consulting firm Carbis Walker, LLP (CW) sued rival firm Hill, Barth & King, LLC (HBK) and a former CW employee who had left for a job with HBK, and who had allegedly taken several CW clients with him. In the course of litigation, counsel for HBK inadvertently faxed a privileged document, which was intended for HBK’s local counsel, to local counsel for CW. The next day, CW’s counsel notified HBK’s counsel of the transmission of the privileged document.

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