eDiscovery Mistake Leads to 'Nightmare' for Wells Fargo Lawyer

By William Vogeler, Esq. on July 28, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Ever had that nightmare where you pushed the wrong button and suddenly your career was over?

That's gotta be the real-life nightmare Angela Turiano is having. In an eDiscovery response, Truiano accidentally turned over confidential client information to opposing counsel.

But this wasn't just some embarrassing email; it was confidential information about thousands of Wells Fargo's wealthiest clients -- names, Social Security numbers, and billions of dollars. If only there were an undo button.

It Gets Worse

The rubber really came off the wheel when opposing counsel gave the information to his client, who then gave the New York Times a scoop. The newspaper published a story about the breach, reporting that 50,000 accounts were disclosed.

John Truscott, who represents the plaintiff in the case, said his client did not turn over all the data to the newspaper.

"He wants to give the information back but frankly given how the law firm for Wells Fargo has handled this, there's not a lot of trust," said Truscott, who admitted the information helps his client's case.

The case didn't start out as the bank's problem. It started as a dispute between Gary Sinderbrand and his brother Steven. The plaintiff had subpoenaed documents related to a deal on brokerage clients he and his brother jointly managed at Wells Fargo.

After the Breach

Turiano has demanded the return of the bank's information, but the damage has already been done -- including to the lawyer.

In an affidavit filed in the case, Turiano admitted her mistake. She said she relied on an eDiscovery vendor to review the request and mark the privileged and confidential documents.

"I thus inadvertently provided documents that had not been reviewed by me for confidentiality and privilege," she said.

Judges in the case have barred further release of the information, ordered the plaintiff to delete any copies and told him to give the digital file to the court.

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