New Jersey Court Finds Waiver of Privilege in ‘Loving’ Way

New Jersey Court Finds Waiver of Privilege in ‘Loving’ Way

From the second we stepped foot in law school we learned that the attorney-client privilege was sacrosanct. While by no means absolute, we knew it was pretty hard to gain access to the communications between an attorney and client. Waiver just became a little more likely in New Jersey. A state trial court decision underscores the reality that email communication is too often treated informally and we as attorneys can no longer assume a client’s “personal” email account is truly personal. For while the account itself may be, the means by which the message was sent, may not.

Recently, a New Jersey trial court had occasion to

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determine whether an employee’s use of her employer’s computer and server to communicate with her lawyer waived the attorney-client privilege. In Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc., docket no. BER-L-858-08, the court held that it did; and the ruling highlights for employers the importance of having a detailed employee handbook and technology system protocol in place; and for lawyers the importance of making sure that communications from clients come by way of truly personal means.

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