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Local legal experts address conference about text messaging rights

June 10, 2008

Detroit Free Press, June 5, 2008

As we’ve mentioned, electronic forms of communication are constantly evolving and it seems as though we’re constantly playing catch up. Text messaging, for example, is something that’s emerging in the courts as viable electronic evidence. If anyone knows about this, it’s Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick who is under fire for sending inappropriate text messages from his city-owned cell phone. Situations such as this is a warning to all employees that anything sent from company property (cell phone, office phone, email, etc.), is subject to review, according to Tom Hathaway and Brian Ziff, two businesses lawyers from Clark Hill . This was the topic of the recent Midwest Technology Leaders Conference where Hathaway and Ziff spoke to technology leaders about e-discovery and the corporate liability that comes along with it.

“When it comes to the workplace, there is now no expectation of privacy when it comes to electronic discovery,” said Hathaway. “If it’s been sent on a company e-mail account, from a laptop or a desk PC or a mobile phone or PDA, it’s fair game as evidence in a lawsuit.”

No matter how many times you delete a message, it never really disappears, according to Hathaway. With that in mind, we should all remember to play it safe and separate our work and personal lines of communication. Still not convinced that your personal life could be disclosed to the world? Talk to Mayor Kilpatrick. He probably has a thought or two to share.

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