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ISPs Beginning to Win Battles over Subpoenas for Emails

Posted by rjbiii on July 3, 2008

The next time you want to subpoena an ISP for your or your opponents emails, you might want to stop and think about it, because, according to an article from the National Law Journal, you might not get what you want:

Civil litigants are increasingly trying to get their hands on e-mails to prove their cases, but Internet service providers are starting to challenge their subpoenas — and courts are starting to rule in their favor.
For years, courts just assumed that e-mail was discoverable and viewable, and it looks to me like courts are changing direction and questioning that position,” said Ted Claypoole of the Charlotte, N.C., office of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, who represents ISPs.
While not exactly a clear-cut rule, ISPs received a boost recently from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which denied a State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. subpoena asking AOL to disclose various e-mails tied to an insurance claim.

A positive development, I think. The article sites the Stored Communications Act and recent case law as helpful elements in the legal arsenals of ISPs.

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