Tag: Emails

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Attorney Mindfulness When Addressing Emails and Texts: ABA Formal Opinion Provides Ethical Guidance to Lawyers on Electronic Communications
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Balderas v. Ill. Cent. R.R. Co. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 8, 2021)

Attorney Mindfulness When Addressing Emails and Texts: ABA Formal Opinion Provides Ethical Guidance to Lawyers on Electronic Communications

In their roles as advisors, advocates, counselors, negotiators, and client representatives, lawyers communicate extensively though electronic means, particularly email and increasingly text messages. However, the fact that use of these electronic communication tools is commonplace in legal practice doesn’t mean that attorneys shouldn’t exercise caution when crafting their communications. The American Bar Association (“ABA”) Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility published a formal opinion this month that advises lawyers to refrain generally from including their clients on emails and texts sent to opposing counsel.

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Balderas v. Ill. Cent. R.R. Co. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 8, 2021)

Key Insight:

Further discovery must be based on more than mere speculation or suspicion that additional documents exist. The moving party must make a case showing “it can be reasonably deduced that other documents exist[.]”

The Court was unable to reach a ruling regarding Plaintiff’s requested search terms due to insufficient information. While Defendants did reject the terms and did not provide alternatives, plaintiff did not say what the requested terms were or why they were rejected.

With regards to specific discovery requests, Defendants were ordered to search for and produce responsive documents. The Court noted “boilerplate” objections without further explanation are equivalent to making no objection at all and individual authorization to access electronic communications is not required when the individuals are parties to the case. Additionally, emails and texts messages party’s employee are a compelling form of evidence that can be particularly significant in litigation.

Nature of Case: Civil Rights, Employment Discrimination

Electronic Data Involved: Personnel Records, Business Records, Electronic Communications, Email, Texts, Voicemails, Instant Messages, Electronic Documents Generally

Case Summary

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