When a court can catch you for fabricating text messages in a civil litigation matter.

How is it possible to get caught fabricating text messages from my cell phone?

Author: Elliot M. Hirsch
Case Citation: Lee v. Trees, Inc. 2017 WL 5147146 (D. Or. 2017)
Employee/Personnel/Employer Implicated: Employee

eLesson Learned: Fabricating text messages in your cell phone will likely lead you to lose your case because there are people out there that can catch your wrongdoings.
Tweet This: If you’re going to claim sexual harassment make sure you don’t falsify text messages to buttress your claim because, in the end, you will lose big time.

Sexual harassment cases always generate nation-wide attention. But they generate even more attention when the “victim” is not really the victim but the perp. 

Sarah Lee claims that she engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with a fellow colleague of hers, Paul Sims at the company Trees Inc. After their consensual relationship, Ms. Lee decided she wanted to stop but Sims wasn’t having it. He continued to verbally and sexually harass her at the company along with other employees. Subsequently, Ms. Lee was fired from her job and she filed suit claiming gender discrimination and state law claims.

The center of the dispute concerned text messages that were allegedly sent by Sims to Lee during their relationship. Sims ended up hiring a super expert in the field of electronic devices, including phone calls and text messaging and deciphering computer codes, the official title of certified forensic computer examiner. He even worked for the FBI. This expert was able to decipher and see that Ms. Lee fabricated texts and didn’t send them when she said she did. 

After going through evidentiary questions concerning when to admit expert testimony the court concluded that the text messages were, in fact, fabricated. The court noted in its discussion about counsel fees and terminal sanctions that Ms. Lee did not produce in discovery the text messages that Sims was requesting. She obstructed discovery by not producing, in electronic format, the text messages. The main point the court focused on in its ruling was the fact that fraud should not be condoned and drastic measures were necessary to prevent future damage such as the one that occurred here.

Elliot M. Hirsch is 3rd year law student at Seton Hall University. He was a scholar-athlete at the CUNY Brooklyn College and traveled the world playing tennis before attending law school. Mr. Hirsch also tutored over 2500 students in the TriState New York Area. 

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