The rise of electronic communication has forced employers and courts to take a fresh look at many issues that used to be considered routine. The age-old concept of attorney-client privilege is the latest one to whipsaw through the courts.
In May 2009, we brought you “Check your policy! No privilege when e-mailing lawyer from work,” which discussed the impact of the trial court decision in Stengart v. Loving Care Agency (Docket No. BER-L-858-08, N.J. Super., Law Div., 2009).
The lower court in Stengart held that e-mails between a former employee and her attorney were not protected by the attorney-client privilege because they were prepared and stored on the company’s computer system.
An appellate court has now reversed that decision, and ruled that the attorney-client privilege outweighs an employer’s property interest in the information contained on the company’s computer and e-mail system.
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