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April 2015 Archives

How Lawyers Should Handle Thumb Drives

As part of investigations and discovery practice, lawyers regularly request and receive electronically stored information.  This may be through a FOIA request, or from medical records requests, or prior counsel's files, or subpoenae duces tecum, or Rule 34 requests, or directly from a client.  ESI may be provided on a CD or DVD, or a thumb/flash/usb drive, or an external hard drive, or through a third-party cloud host.  Unfortunately, this practice is replete with risks.

Connecticut Workplace Privacy Law -When Coworkers Invade Your Space

Invasion of personal privacy in the work place concerns all of us, but can you sue for that? A Connecticut trial court recently addressed this compelling privacy issue.  A Board of Education employee sued her coworkers for intentional infliction of emotional distress and for invasion of privacy. The employee alleged that her co-workers had, for several months, gathered together without her knowledge or permission to open and read her personal materials that she had stored on her work computer. The Waterbury Superior Court held that the employee had not stated a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, as the alleged conduct was only "undesirable and inappropriate", and thus did not meet the "extreme and outrageous" standard of an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. However, the court held that the employee had stated a claim for invasion of privacy, since her coworkers' uninvited intrusion into her personal material was behavior that a reasonable person would find highly offensive. Referencing a 2009 District of Connecticut case, where the court held that employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy for their work emails, the Waterbury Superior Court noted that although the employee's computer was a work computer, and not a personal device, this fact did not preclude her from bringing an invasion of privacy claim.

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