Neal v. Health Net, Inc., 100 Cal. App. 4th 831 (2002)

Khybrette Neal (a former human resources manager for Health Net, Inc.) sued the company and her former supervisor for race and gender discrimination, breach of contract, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and slander. The employer filed a motion to disqualify Neal’s attorney after the attorney met with and commenced representation of Cynthia Brockett, a former legal secretary in Health Net’s in-house legal department. Brockett admitted accessing a confidential legal file containing information about Neal’s lawsuit, but denied that she had disclosed any confidential information to Neal’s attorney after accessing the file. The trial court granted the motion to disqualify Neal’s attorney, but the Court of Appeal reversed on the ground that there was no evidence that Brockett had provided any confidential information to Neal’s attorney or that Neal’s attorney had acted improperly.