Personal e-mail accounts discoverable in work-related claims, federal court held

bk-courtOn June 14, 2016, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, held that personal email accounts may be searched with reference to a work-related dispute.

In this civil rights case, Plaintiff motioned to compel Defendants to “search for and produce certain documents from their personal computers and email accounts.”

Plaintiff pointed out in his motion that the Individual Defendant had been sued in their individual capacities, not only in their official capacities. “The fact that the County is representing the Individual Defendants in this litigation does not mean that these defendants are excused from complying with their obligations as individual defendants to produce responsive, non-privileged documents and electronically stored information in their “possession, custody, or control.” Defendants opposed.

The Court granted Plaintiff’s motion under the newly amended FRCP 26(b)(1). “Plaintiff has the right to pursue emails and other correspondence the Individual Defendants may have created/saved on their personal computers or sent from their personal email accounts which reference Plaintiff” or discuss issues related to the claim.

The Court “does not consider the requested discovery unduly intrusive or burdensome”. As a matter of fact, (i) the request is limited in time, (ii) the parties agreed upon the search terms to be used, and (iii) Plaintiff did not request Defendants to produce their computers for forensic inspection.

Sunderland v. Suffolk Cnty., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77212 (E.D.N.Y. June 14, 2016) is available at…                             Open Pdf

For more information, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal

Follow us on& Like us on