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Date Archives: April 2012

Florida “Do Not Call” List — Now Free

Register your home and mobile phones with the Florida Dept of Agricultural and Consumer Services’ “Do Not Call” list to prevent sales call to your home and cell phones.

Previously, there was a charge for this service.  In light of new legislation, registration is free and easy.

First, go to http://www.fldnc.com/

Second, enter your various numbers, contact info, and an email address.

Third, if you get a marketing call, you can file a complaint here.

Fourth, for further information (and possible remedies), read Florida Statute 501.059.

Nevada Supreme Court Explains Admissibility Standards for IM / Text Messages

The criminal case of Kevin Rodriguez v. State of Nevada is one of three recent cases nationwide which discusses the admissibility of text messages in trial.

In Rodriguez, a victim was attacked, robbed, and her cell phone was taken.  Thereafter, twelve text messages were sent from the victim’s phone.  The case was brought against two defendants who were later apprehended in possession of the phone (which also had a picture of them in the phone which was taken after the assault).

Some quotes from the opinion:

* “Text messages offer new analytical challenges when courts consider admissibility.  However, those challenges do not require a deviation from basic evidentiary rules…”

* A person cannot be identified as the author of a text message solely on the evidence that the text came from that person’s phone.  Some additional evidence is required to authenticate.

* Circumstantial evidence corroborating the sender’s identity may include the context or content of the messages…

* Proponent of the evidence must explain the purpose for which the text message is being offered and provide sufficient direct or circumstantial corroborating evidence of authorship in order to authenticate…

* Once admitted, opponent may rebut authentication and it is for the jury to decide…

CLE: iPhone and iPad Apps for Lawyers

The Palm Beach Bar Association is hosting the 2.5 CLER credit course, iPhone and iPad Apps for Lawyers, on June 15, 2012 at the Bar’s new offices.

Bring your mobile device, have lunch, and learn about more than 50 apps which will help your law practice, writing, research, communications, and productivity both in the office and on the road.  

Flyer and information is here.

Registration on the Bar website is here.

 

Can a Lawyer Respond to an Opposing Party Email?

A defendant in a personal injury suit lost in arbitration and her lawyer sought trial de novo.  The defendant sent an email to plaintiff’s counsel stating that she, as the party, did not want a trial and complained that her counsel and insurance carrier were continuing to defend the case.

What steps should a lawyer take when receiving such an email?

The relevant rule in Florida is Rule of Professional Conduct 4-4.2 (Communications With Persons Represented by Counsel): “…a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter [unless the other lawyer consents.”  In Florida, the Rule applies “even though the represented person initiates or consents to the communication” (see Rule Comments).

The facts described above occurred in Denise Engstrom v. Rebecca Harsten Goodman et al.  Washington State’s rule 4.2 appears similar, if not identical, to the Florida rule.  The court held that the lawyer should not have continued communications with the party (which included several steps of further communication, including getting the defendant to sign an affidavit).  The court held the appropriate steps would be to cease communication as well as advise opposing counsel and/or inform the court.

Florida lawyers are reminded that the Rules of Conduct are always available online at FloridaBar.org (more specifically, here) and also available in a free iTunes app (link, here).