Opinion Letter No. 01-05
December 14, 2001
Disclosure of Attorney Work Product
An employee of a state agency sought to obtain a
copy of a letter containing legal advice from the
Department of the Attorney General concerning a State agency's internet
The UIPA sets forth a list of government records that are not required
to be disclosed. Haw. Rev.
Stat. § 92F-13 (1993). The list includes "government records
pertaining to the prosecution or defense
of any judicial or quasi-judicial action to which the State or any
county is or may be a party, to the
extent that such records would not be discoverable." Haw. Rev.
Stat. § 92F-13(2) (1993).
This section exempts from disclosure any government records that
would be protected under the
"attorney work product doctrine." That doctrine is expressed
in Hawaii Rules of Civil Procedure
26(b)(3) and protects an attorney's mental impressions, conclusions
and opinions. The requested
record discussed legal strategies behind decisions made or contemplated
by the State agency.
As the employee had referenced a concern with legal problems prior
to the State agency contacting
the Department of the Attorney General, it was determined that the
attorney work product doctrine
protected the letter from disclosure as it was prepared in anticipation
of litigation. Any factual
information in the letter would not, however, be protected from