A New Jersey employee who sent messages to her attorney from her personal, password-protected Yahoo! e-mail account using a company-issued laptop had a reasonable expectation of privacy in those e-mails, a unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court ruled March 30. (Stengart v. Loving Care Agency Inc. N.J., No. A-16-09, 3/30/10).
Stengart was executive director of nursing for Loving Care, a home health care provider, until she resigned in January 2008. Shortly after her resignation, she filed a state court lawsuit alleging violations of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Stengart never saved any Yahoo identification or password on the Loving Care computer, but internet browser software automatically retained temporary internet files showing the contents of seven or eight messages she had exchanged with her lawyer.
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