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Emails and the Mailbox Rule: 21st Century Application of a 19th Century Doctrine

, New York Law Journal

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Gary J. Mennitt and Jeff Masters write: Email and other forms of electronic communication have been commonplace for years, and people will likely increasingly rely on email for the transmission of statutory and contractual notices as well as other documents that affect legal rights. With the typical office worker receiving more than 90 emails every day on average, it is certain that disputes will continue to arise concerning whether such emails constitute actual and constructive notice.

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  • Nicholas G. Karambelas

    This excellent article raises a vital issue. Another issue raised by emails is whether a legal communication set forth in the body of an email is privileged. Because an email goes through a server it is at least theoretically possible that the text of the communication is exposed to a third party. This negates the privilege. In my CLE courses I suggest that legal communications be set forth in a memo attached to the email. The email then serves only as a transmittal device in the same way as an envelope. I am not sure whether this works or or not. But at least it is an argument.

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