March 10, 2005

Email Woes…

Smoking guns emails are nothing new but recent developments are enough to make even prolific emailers want to reach for their spy kits with the disappearing ink.

First, there’s Boeing’s CEO whose brief tenure at the helm was cut short by smoking (and I guess the content was really smokin’) gun emails to his Boeing colleague/paramour. OK, you say, what the heck does this have to do with deal making? Nothing but I couldn’t resist.

One email-bites-man development does involve law and deals. In a suit filed by financier Ronald Perelman against Morgan Stanley, the Florida court last week took the unusual step of shifting the burden of proof to the defendant, Morgan Stanley, to prove to a jury that it didn’t help Sunbeam defraud Perelman. Apparently, the court was PO’ed about MS’s lack of internal controls in producing emails requested in discovery. The judge describes MS’s failures as “gross abuse” of its discovery obligations. As such, the judge decided to level the playing field by shifting the burden of proof.

Ouch! Just two reminders to us all that emails do bounce back – sometimes in your face.

It’s enough to make you wonder why anyone would send emails. Come to thing of it, why would anyone blog? Oops time to stop…