Emails and Electronic Communications as Liabilities

Last Updated on Wednesday, 3 August 2011 03:29 Written by Chris Griswold Wednesday, 3 August 2011 03:28

Everybody listen up (unless you don’t send emails, Facebook or Twitter with anybody).  In today’s busy world, we’re all trying to get more and more work done in less time.  Accordingly, we send emails all throughout the day and, at the same time, we Facebook, Twitter, do our LinkedIn and other stuff too.  We send these communications at night, on the weekend, and even on vacation.  This is all fine and well and, honestly, our clients, bosses and business partners have come to expect it.  However, there are some things you really need to be careful about in your “electronic life.”  Read more below (and don’t forget to click on my Facebook or YouTube links below to also see my short video on this material).

Emails and Electronic Communications as Liabilities

When we email on the weekends, at night or at any other time when we’re past tired, we’re not “mentally” at our best.  These are the times when we can say something online or in an email (or fail to say something online or in an email) that creates trouble for ourselves and/or our clients.  What’s the big deal?

Emails are admissible as evidence in judicial proceedings.  While you probably already knew that, it’s easy to forget when you get really busy and stop thinking about the big picture.  A colleague of mine in Texas had a corporate client. This client was a large manufacturer and was being sued for products liability after an explosion occurred involving one of its products.  During the course of litigation, my colleague came across some emails that were internally exchanged between employees of the corporate client.  One of them contained the following language:  “…did that damn thing blow up again??

Same thing with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and the other mediums.  Although there isn’t any current, controlling case law which addresses the admissibility of the content of these sites in Oklahoma, I am told that these types of mediums are beginning to be admissible in Texas (and there do appear to be some pending cases here in Oklahoma which touch on this subject).  Accordingly, it’s probably just a matter of time….  Let’s all just slow down, think about what we’re saying (when we’re saying it) and stay out of trouble.

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