A plaintiff withheld an email saying the attorney-client privilege protected it. The plaintiff’s CEO received the email from the company’s in-house counsel. The CEO forwarded the email to a hotel front desk’s email address to print. The defendant argued the attorney-client privilege was waived by disclosing the email to the hotel clerk.
The court found that the plaintiff waived the attorney-client privilege when the CEO forwarded the email to the hotel front desk to print. The court concluded that the plaintiff did not intend to keep the email confidential since the CEO sent the communication to a generic hotel email address where various hotel staff could access it. Finally, the email had no language indicating it was considered confidential, not to be read, shared, or deleted after printing.
Why This Is Important…Sending a privileged document to a general hotel email address is imprudent under any state’s law. It is like having a privileged conversation in a crowded elevator. It is critical to treat privileged communications so that the privilege is not waived. This means only people entitled to the privilege should have access to it.