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  • Paul Peter Nicolai

Embarrassing Emails Go Public

A court of appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling by concluding that emails were judicial records to which the common law right of access to judicial proceedings was attached.


Since the public’s right to access judicial records is not absolute, courts determine whether good cause exists by balancing the right of access against a party’s interest in keeping information confidential. The court concluded that the genuine interest in sealing prevented public embarrassment, which was not a good cause.


Why This Is Important… the speed of electronic communication frequently means writers do not think long term. Electronic mail and other electronic communications last much longer than the time it took to create them. It would be best if you did not write something you would not want to appear on the front page of every newspaper because it might.

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