Congress passed the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”) with the hope of preventing abuse in class action lawsuits. CAFA assigns jurisdiction to federal courts over class actions where: (i) the aggregate amount in controversy exceeds five million dollars ($5,000,000); (ii) the class comprises at least 100 plaintiffs; and (iii) there is at least “minimal diversity” between the parties (i.e., at least one plaintiff class member is diverse from at least one defendant). In addition, CAFA mandates that courts apply greater scrutiny to class action settlements and, in particular, those involving coupons (i.e., vouchers or other non-cash disbursements which can be redeemed for (typically discounted) products or services).
I. The Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Doctrine in the United States and Abroad
The attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine are important and well-known concepts to nearly every lawyer in the United States. Generally, the attorney-client privilege shields from disclosure confidential communications between attorneys and clients for the purpose of seeking or rendering legal advice, while the work product doctrine guards documents or other tangible things prepared in anticipation of litigation by or for a party.[i] The United States affords litigants and lawyers relatively broad protections under these doctrines through the Federal Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure or, as appropriate, analogous provisions under state law.