It’s Personal: GC vs. Company’s Right to Files

It’s Personal: GC vs. Company’s Right to Files

Did you hear the one about the general counsel who used his company computer for personal use, was fired, sued for employment discrimination and wrongful termination and engaged in a legal fight with his former employer over who had the right to his personal files?

As Forbes reports, Ian Miller, a former GC for Zara USA, a clothing retailer, created personal files related to suing the company on his work laptop and later claimed that they were subject to attorney-client privilege.

Per Forbes, while the appellate court applied the four-factor test in In re Asia Global Crossing, Ltd. and found that Miller could not expect the “reasonable assurance of confidentiality that is foundational to attorney-client privilege,” it did find that the ex-GC’s use of the company computer for personal purposes didn’t mean he automatically waived work-product protection.

The appellate court then sent the case back to the trial court for work-product review. Meanwhile, Miller’s laptop sits securely in storage, as agreed upon by Miller and Zara.

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