From: "Drew A. Norman, SE" <DNorman(--nospam--at)dnormanse.com>
Date: Sat, 08 Sep 2001 13:03:05 -0700
Curiously enough, just this week I sent out several email messages with a
header essentially identical to that you quote in your inquiry. The project
those messages discussed involves an engineering investigation the outcome
of which could at least in theory lead to a legal dispute between the party
to whom my firm is (indirectly) consulting and other folks with different
interests. In order to assure that the professional opinions he pays for
are kept private, the customer has (in part at my suggestion) arranged for
his consultants to be employed by his attorneys. Our efforts are considered
part of the attorney's general investigation into the facts of the matter
and our reports protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privledge.
The attorney has instructed all involved of the importance of identifying
all communication as, "PRIVLEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL," in order to maximize the
probability that a court would grant such protection.
In any case, I was concerned as to whether email set un-encrypted over the,
"public," medium of the internet could in fact be protected, and I called
the attorney (managing partner of a moderately large local firm) to
specifically inquire before I sent such a message. The following is an
excerpt from an email he sent to me in response: '' ... e-mail ... gives
the impression of being ... casual communication. [For the] ... courts ...,
the controlling criteria is whether the communication was intended to be
confidential. The ... reality is that ... judges view ... disputes ... [on
such matters] ... as ... a royal pain in the neck ... [and they are not] ...
thrilled ... when forced to sift through communications to determine whether
they are privileged. They make those decisions at Mach speed. By
proclaiming front and center its PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL - case closed
and on to the next one.''
Note that the ''proclamation'' should be, ''front and center,'' for maximum
effect (not at the end of the message, where, as I think some one else
responding to your post pointed out, the unintended recepient would almost
surely read the entire thing before finding it). Anyway, though perhaps
specific to the and legal procedures of the specific court(s) that might be
concerned with the matter in question, there's a bona fide legal opinion on
the matter which makes sense to me. As mentioned, I went ahead and
transmitted my messages with the specified language included.
Others have taken off on your post as somehow relating to Spam. I doubt
the, "intended recipient," language has meaning or purpose in that context.
The subject is however relevant to those of us who sometimes consult in
matters related to even potential disputes.
Drew A. Norman, S.E.
Drew A. Norman and Associates
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2001 10:42 PM
Subject: Re: Children ... (AKA disclaimer)
> Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if this sort of disclaimer (quoted
> below) is worth a pitcher of warm spit? Considering how things get passed
> around on the Internet and yesterday's legal decision that one can't be
> quite as responsible for what one says on the net as in "real life" (my
> interpretation), I wonder.
> Ralph Hueston Kratz, S.E.
> Richmond CA USA
> In a message dated 9/7/01, ********** writes:
> << NOTICE - This communication may contain confidential and privileged
> information that is for the sole use of the intended recipient. Any
> copying or distribution of, or reliance on this message by unintended
> recipients is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in
> error, please notify us immediately by replying to the message and
> it from your computer. >>
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