Don't Spoil Things By Ignoring Hotmail and Gmail


In October 2013, Puerto Rico Telephone Company, Inc. v. San Juan Cable, LLC, the District Court for Puerto Rico issued an order finding that a party had a duty to preserve email messages in the personal accounts of their employees when they knew that those accounts were used for business activities. The email accounts in question had been used by officers of the company for more than 7 years.

The court however declined to issue an adverse inference sanction, because of the absence of bad faith, and failure to demonstrate prejudice. In this case only three email chains were lost, and they were later recovered through other means. The emails came from the accounts of officers who departed the producing party at the time the first document requests were served. The emails also did not directly support the plaintiff's claims or weaken the defendant's defenses.

The court did leave open the possibility that forensic analysis of the employee's email accounts and personal computers might be warranted.