Confidentiality concerns don't justify filing unserved privilege log under seal

One of St. Louis's premier criminal defense firms, Rosenblum, Schwartz, Rogers, & Glass, P.C. (“RSRG”), was sanctioned last week after filing a court-ordered privilege log under seal -- and without serving it on the party seeking production.

Counsel for arms dealer Keith Byron Baranski, aka "Chief Thunder," subpoened RSRG, seeking documents related to the firm's representation of (apparently Baranski's former customer) James Carmi. RSRG opposed the subpoena as seeking privileged documents. District Judge Charles Shaw ordered RSRG to provide a privilege log, which RSRG did -- but only to the court. Concerned about its confidentiality obligations, RSRG did not serve the log on Baranski's counsel.

Baranski's counsel sought sanctions, and ultimately recovered $1896 in sanctions under Rule 45. Baranski also sought sanctions on the grounds the log was inadequate, after the District Court found no "bad faith" by RSRG regarding any shortcomings with its log.

The decision is United States v. Baranski, Case No. 4:11-CV-123 CAS, 2012 WL 1906366 (E.D. Mo. May 25, 2012).