Target Privilege Decision Delivers Guidance for Post-Data Breach Internal Investigations

In a ruling that may clarify how companies should conduct breach responses to preserve privilege, on October 23, 2015, a federal district court in Minnesota found that certain documents created during Target’s internal investigation of its 2013 payment card breach were protected by the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine.  The Target case “is one of the first cases we are seeing in the data breach context where the privilege issue has been tested,” Michelle A. Kisloff, a partner at Hogan Lovells, said.  The Court’s denial of class plaintiffs’ motion to compel production of these documents recognized “that data breach victims have a legitimate need to perform an investigation in the aftermath of a breach in which communications are protected by the attorney-client privilege,” Michael Gottlieb, a partner at Bois, Schiller & Flexner, told the Cybersecurity Law Report.  See also “Preserving Privilege Before and After a Cybersecurity Incident (Part One of Two)” (Jun. 17, 2015); Part Two (Jul. 1, 2015).

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