When are demand letters and other communications useable as a defense to a lawsuit?

When your lawyer is really creative. Or not. A recent court of appeal decision held that correspondence from one partner to another in which the first partner tries to talk the second partner out of selling the second partner’s interest to a third party are not, necessarily, privileged. Thus, when the third party had to pay more for the second partner’s interest, the first partner had the chance to became liable to the buyer for the increase in purchase price! When sued for that difference, the first partner tried to characterize the letters and emails as communications “in anticipation of litigation” and thus privileged, under the Anti-SLAPP rules. Not so, said the court.

Reference: Haneline Pacific Properties v. May (2008, DJDAR 15330)



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