E-mail purloining in a South Carolina case of Jennings v. Jennings

Basically, Mr. Jennings and his wife split after he admits that he has fallen in love with another woman. Wife’s daughter in law, who previously worked for Mr. Jennings, cracks into (my words, not the court’s) his office Yahoo! account. (For full facts, see the S.C. Court of Appeals case here:http://sccourts.org/opinions/displayOpinion.cfm?caseNo=4711).

Within the case we have a view of how South Carolina’s courts will deal with web-based e-mail and whether or not it falls within the definition of an “electronic communication service,” (ECS) finding that (drum roll please) Yahoo! indeed is one. Had the daughter-in-law just looked on the Husband’s hard drive, there would not have been a violation. Now perhaps you can see how tightly you need to consider, think through, and research your cases in this electronic arena before you file them.

As an aside here for you geeks (like me), a footnote to the Jennings case states as follows:
Hilderman v. Enea TekSci, Inc., 551 F. Supp. 2d 1183, 1204-05 (S.D. Cal. 2008) (holding that emails stored by employee on hard drive of company-issued laptop were not in “electronic storage” as contemplated by the SCA); In re DoubleClick, 154 F. Supp. 2d at 511-13 (holding that computer programs known as “cookies” placed by internet advertising corporation on the hard drives of plaintiffs’ computers were not in “electronic storage”)

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About MaxLaw843

Max is an attorney and a member of Grimball & Cabaniss, LLC where he has practiced litigation since 1987, concentrating in construction, personal injury, and business litigation. He also has handled quite a number of appellate cases. In the community, he is past president of the Scottish Society of Charleston, Inc. and is the Chair of Church Council of Bethel United Methodist Church in downtown Charleston.
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