Can a court order the production of the results of an investigation of teachers without reviewing the document first?

No. A tenured teacher from a Greenburgh, NY high school complained to her administration that she was being harassed and bullied by two colleagues at her school. After an initial investigation the Director of Human Resources hired an outside attorney to fully investigate and report on the matter.

The outside counsel found that while there was a problem in the department no harassment or bullying was present and recommended to the Board that sensitivity training be ordered.

The petitioner brought an Article 78 proceeding to challenge the decision of the Board and to cause the report to be disclosed to her.

The Supreme Court, Westchester County found that the Board of Education had waived its attorney-client privilege, ordered the production of the report but denied the petitioner’s application to reverse the Board’s decision determining that harassment and bullying had not taken place.

The Appellate Division reversed finding that it was error for the Supreme Court to make any determination about the report or whether it was protected by the attorney-client privilege without holding an in camera (in Court chambers) review of the document.

2016 NY Slip Op 04422, IN THE MATTER OF KRISTY RELLA, Appellant-­Respondent, v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF GREENBURGH CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, ET AL.,  Respondents­ Appellants, ET AL., Respondents. 2015­04121, Index No. 2408/14. Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Second Department. Decided June 8, 2016.

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