What U Txt Can Hurt U OMG!

It would appear that Detroit public officials have a real problem with text messages.  In addition to the current indictment against mayor Kwame Kilpatrick involving his alleged cover-up of text messages linking him romantically with his former chief of staff, text messages play a central role in another current case with Kilpatrick ties, and were the subject of a recent court decision that outlined how they would be disclosed.

The problems began with allegations of a 2002 party at the Kilpatrick's mansion involving exotic dancers.  When one of the dancers who claimed that she was at the party was shot to death in 2003, her family filed a $150 million lawsuit against the city.  The family claimed that the shooting was an attempt to cover up the dancer's role in the party, and further claimed that a Detroit police officer was the shooter.  The family issued two subpoenas to SkyTel, which supplied the city's text messaging devices.  The subpoenas sought text messages to and from all city officials and employees on the night of the shooting and text messages from a list of 34 city officials for certain periods between 2002 and 2007.  The court allowed discovery of the text messages from the night of the shooting, but narrowed the second request.

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Court OKs Disk Mirroring Despite Confidential Client Matter

In a recent case (Ferron v. Search Cactus, L.L.C., 2008 WL 1902499), the the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled that information stored on a computer that contained content protected by the attorney-client privilege presented insufficient reason for a party to prevent the computer from being mirrored for electronic discovery purposes.

The plaintiff in the case case was an attorney who utilized his home and office computers for storing and working with information related to the representation of clients and the maintenance of lawsuits, but who also used his home computer to store his personal banking and credit card information. He objected to the defendants' discovery request so that the defendants could analyze the electronic evidence in question.

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Text Messages Live Forever? Or no?

Interesting Slate article about some of the nuts and bolts behind retention of text messages. . . how long they are stored on your phone, how long your wireless carrier will store them, and how your corporate record retention policies might affect those issues (as Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick recently learned the hard way).