Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Reading Arguably Privileged E-Mails Was Unethical

The New Jersey Supreme Court held today that an employee "could reasonably expect that e-mail communications with her lawyer through her personal, password-protected, web-based e-mail account would remain private, and that sending and receiving them using a company laptop did not eliminate the attorney-client privilege that protected them." The employer's counsel violated Rule 4.4(b) by reading the e-mails and failing to promptly notify the employee. The court noted that no reported New Jersey decision offered direct guidance on the issue.

The case was remanded to decide whether disqualification, screening, or imposition of other some other remedy should be imposed for the ethical violation. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2010/03/reading-arguably-privileged-emails-was-unethical.html

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Comments

I just quit a company where I used an IMAC for all business emails. On a few such emails I added my personal email address as I wanted a copy at home. Recently I sent an email to a new business prospect from my home computer with no copies to anyone. I then got a call from my former boss who said he had heard about the offer I made to the prospect from an "inside source" The only way he could have known specific details mentioned in my email is that he found a way to read my emails on my home account on the business computer. How could he have done so and is such a thing illegal? He certainly does not have my email password for my home account. It is really irritating to find that he has this access and I have since changed my password to see if this will help stop the guy from continuing to read personal and business messages on my home computer.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 21, 2010 10:52:20 AM

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