American Airlines, Inc. v. Superior Court, 114 Cal. App. 4th 881 (2003)

During the course of his discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit against American Airlines, Jawad Alamad, a former aircraft mechanic, identified Richard DiMarco, another American employee and Vice President of Local 564 of the Transport Workers Union of America, as having knowledge supporting his claims. During his deposition, DiMarco refused to identify employees of the airline who allegedly told DiMarco that they had been coerced to provide favorable testimony on behalf of the airline, that they had been retaliated against and who allegedly had made racially derogatory remarks about Alamad. The trial court denied American’s motion to compel answers to the deposition questions on the ground that there “should be” a privilege as to communications between a union officer and the union’s members. The Court of Appeal issued a peremptory writ of mandate directing the trial court to vacate its order denying American’s motion to compel and to issue a new order granting the motion to compel on the ground that “courts are not free to create new evidentiary privileges” that do not otherwise exist as a result of legislative action.