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November 10, 2011

Attorney-client privilege may not protect confidential e-mail transmittals between an employee and his or her attorney posted from employer's computer


Long v. Marubeni America Corp., No. 05 Civ. 639 (GEL) (KNF), 2006 WL 2998671 (US District Court, Southern District of New York.

An employee used his employer’s computer while at work to send e-mails to his attorney. Such use was in violation of his employer’s policy barring the use of work computers for personal business. In addition, the employee was aware of his employer’s policy statement advising workers that company computers were monitored for Internet activity, including e-mail traffic.

As a result, the e-mails to and from his attorney sent using the employer's computers were held not to be confidential communications protected by the attorney-client privilege.

The court ruled that the employee knew, or should have known, about his employer’s Internet monitoring policy. Accordingly, when he disregarded it, his emails to his attorney lost any protection that the doctrine of attorney-client privilege would have otherwise provided such communications.


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