You’ve Got E-Mail—Don’t Let It Get You
1 You’ve Got E-Mail—Don’t Let It Get You
Emails routinely are included in “documents” requested during the litigation discovery process, because smoking-gun messages often are found. To protect your organization:
- Have a formal policy on e-mail use, and have employees acknowledge in writing that they will follow it. Include the right to monitor employee e-mail. Main rule: Never send an e-mail you wouldn’t want a jury to
- Substantive e-mails to and from your attorney aren’t subject to Subject lines should include something like “Privileged and confidential: attorney-client communication.” In the text, ask for the attorney’s guidance.
- Sometimes it’s best to communicate by picking up the phone or walking to the other person’s office and having a conversation.
- In e-mails, don’t exaggerate, speculate, insult anyone, use vague terms such as “substandard” or “troublesome,” or use legally loaded terms such as “negligent” unless you are sure the term is Keep in mind that “keyword” tracking software is used to find smoking gun e-mails.
- Include e-mail in your document retention Archive systems can allow you to find the files you need without wading through all the others. Be wary of using every archival technology available, however. Metadata—data about data—can be valuable to an opposing counsel.
- At the first hint of legal action, place a hold on any documents that might be relevant, and don’t allow them to be destroyed, regardless of your retention
- Remember, “deleted” items still reside on a server with a “not used” status, and can be retrieved until they’re purged.
- “Blogging” risks can include defamation, libel, invasion of privacy, infringement of intellectual property, and securities laws violations. Insurance is available to ad- dress these exposures, which typically fall outside the “advertising injury” protection of a commercial general liability If you include blogging standards in your e-mail policy, reference your existing company policies regarding non- disclosure of confidential information, discriminatory conduct, etc.
By: William Henry
The CIMA Companies, Inc. From IRMI Update 145