A major law firm, Pepper Hamilton, conducted an investigation into claims of rape and sexual assault by female students at Baylor University. In 2016, the law firm found fundamental flaws in how Baylor University handled these claims. Coaches were fired over the scandal that emerged. Now, some of those women have sued the university. In that lawsuit, the 15 plaintiffs argue that Pepper Hamilton created a report regarding their findings. Pepper Hamilton denies it created any such report. The plaintiffs want a copy of that report.

The judge hearing the case, Robert Pitman, noted that emails and time entries for the law firm indicates that it did create a final report. He set for hearing the matter regarding why the law firm should not be sanctioned. Emails, noted the judge, between law firm lawyers mention “drafts of the overall findings and recommendations” and the “narrative of findings and recommendations.” Certainly, if the lawyers discussed a final report, then there must be a final report somewhere.

The subpoena for for the report has been outstanding since 2017. The Pepper firm failed to respond to the 2018 motion to compel and violated a deadline of March 15 to submit objections. Judge Pitman had ordered the law firm to produce the materials by April 11. Instead, the firm submitted a motion for reconsideration. See ABA Bar Journal report here.

That hearing was then held on June 21. Judge Pitman sanctioned the Pepper Hamilton law firm at that hearing. The law firm, even though not a party to the lawsuit, will have to pay the attorney expenses for the plaintiffs’ lawyers. At the hearing, a Pepper Hamilton senior counsel said the references to a final report concerned attorney work product. The judge said if the plaintiffs wished to pursue the mater, they can file additional motions. See ABA Bar Journal report here.

I would like to know what sort of attorney work product need not be turned over to the 15 plaintiffs. I expect they have the same question.