The federal Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act makes it unlawful for anyone to intercept any wire, oral, or electronic communication. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently interpreted this Act to prohibit a wife's "interception" of her husband's emails that were then used in the couple's divorce proceeding. Epstein v. Epstein (7th Cir. 12/14/16)
According to the court decision, the wife had placed an auto-forwarding "rule" on her husband's emails that would automatically forward all of his email messages to her email account. Her husband learned of the interception when her attorney disclosed certain of the emails in discovery in the divorce proceeding. He filed a lawsuit against her and her attorney, alleging violations of the Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act.
The 7th Circuit dismissed the husband's claims against his wife's lawyer. However, the court allowed his claims against his wife to proceed to trial, finding that he stated a valid claim that her placement of the auto-forwarding rule could be considered an "interception" under the Act. The case was remanded for the district court to determine whether the email forwarding meets the Act's requirement that an interception be "contemporaneous."
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf