Email and texting make it easy to send quick responses. That reality is a double-edged sword. In emotionally charged moments, it is dangerously easy to respond or to vent about things using email and text messages, but my advice as a lawyer – don’t do it. This is particularly true for businesspeople. A person should always think about what they send via email or text as something that might be read aloud in court someday. That could be a chilling thought to many things that are transmitted that way. This is why I advise not to send any emails or texts when you are depressed, angry, or drunk (or sometimes occurring simultaneously).
Electronic communications are making their way into courts more and more; and the casual (and sometimes inappropriate) ways that these communications are used can create real legal problems for clients, and if not legal issues, at the very least severe embarrassment and damage to business reputation and relationships.
This is particularly true in the area of discovery. In Washington, the general rules governing discovery are very broad. CR 26 will allow just about any information that is “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” CR 26 (b)(1); that could reasonably include those off colored remark about a colleague or crass comments about a vendor that you have a personal issue with. Even if that information never makes it into a courtroom, at some stages of a case this information (emails, texts, etc.) may have to be disclosed to other parties and their attorneys. Over the years, I have seen very embarrassed parties and read materials that at best could be described as unflattering.
Bottom line. Be very careful what you put into emails and texts.