Cal. Ct. App. Holds that Employee’s E-Mails Sent on Employer’s Computer are not Protected by Attorney-Client Privledge

In Holmes v. Petrovich Development Company, LLC,  — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2011 WL 117230 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011), the California Court of Appeals held that employee e-mails, even those to or from the employee’s attorney, are subject to employer review and therefore not private.

The court specified that: “When Holmes e-mailed her attorney, she did not use her home computer to which some unknown persons involved in the delivery, facilitation, or storage may have access. Had she done so, that would have been a privileged communication unless Holmes allowed others to have access to her e-mails and disclosed their content. Instead, she used defendants’ computer, after being expressly advised this was a means that was not private and was accessible by Petrovich, the very person about whom Holmes contacted her lawyer and whom Holmes sued. This is akin to consulting her attorney in one of defendants’ conference rooms, in a loud voice, with the door open, yet unreasonably expecting that the conversation overheard by Petrovich would be privileged.”

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