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Subject: Lawyer confidential email was fowarderd to many people
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GaryW12
(Florida)

Posts:55


10/09/2018 6:52 PM  
is this a bad thing?

The HOA president had forwarded a email of an active investigation.

This was sent to some people, and to people not involved and at the bottom of the email, it says.

Can the person who is recklessly forwarding this to random people get in trouble? This is in Fl by the way.



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The information contained in this transmission may be attorney/client privileged, and/or work product. It is intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution and/or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please immediately notify the sender.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7671


10/09/2018 7:48 PM  
That is just a general disclaimer on many documents. Kind of like "Lawyer services aren't any offered better than any other legal services etc...".

What matters is the content in the email. Did it contain some kind of information that could be confidential? The HOA members do have the right to know if their HOA is involved in a legal matter. They just may not necessarily need to know certain details.

Not knowing what was contained in the email. I wouldn't concern myself with that general disclaimer thing.

Former HOA President
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3059


10/09/2018 7:56 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 10/09/2018 7:48 PM
That is just a general disclaimer on many documents. Kind of like "Lawyer services aren't any offered better than any other legal services etc...".

What matters is the content in the email. Did it contain some kind of information that could be confidential? The HOA members do have the right to know if their HOA is involved in a legal matter. They just may not necessarily need to know certain details.

Not knowing what was contained in the email. I wouldn't concern myself with that general disclaimer thing.



The disclaimer means nothing, I have that language on my emails. The subject of the topic does, Lawyer confidential email was forwarded to many people.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2435


10/09/2018 8:22 PM  
Not much can be done about it now. Take steps to ensure it doesn't happen again move forward. It's highly unlikely that anyone will "get in trouble" over it.
GaryW12
(Florida)

Posts:55


10/09/2018 8:43 PM  
Ohh Ok. It was just stipulation that the HOA might not be legal as it did not file that paperwork.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:48


10/10/2018 4:25 AM  
Well, it's done now. But if the topic of the email involved privileged info (such as ongoing litigation or enforcement action being taken against a member of the HOA), then yes, you've just breached attorney-client privilege which could compromise the HOA's ability to win their case.

Cathy's Rules for Life #23: "Email: Think Twice, Click Once."
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1234


10/10/2018 7:35 AM  
Posted By GaryW12 on 10/09/2018 6:52 PM

Can the person who is recklessly forwarding this to random people get in trouble?


Get in trouble with who? There is no "HOA Police" in Florida or most states. If somebody felt they were financially or otherwise damaged by these actions, they could sue, but they would have to prove actual damages, not some hypothetical damage.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
AugustinD


Posts:1127


10/10/2018 7:46 AM  
Regardless of how this attorney's email fell into people's hands, all recipients should do as the last line says: Immediately write the attorney who sent this. Recipients should say that she or he was not one of the intended recipients, and nothing more.

It is a bad thing, particularly since some kind of "investigation" is underway. Hopefully the attorney informs the HOA president that he or she has just held the HOA out to liability and also given the person under investigation grounds to appeal any unfavorable outcome of the investigation.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7772


10/10/2018 7:47 AM  
Posted By DouglasK1 on 10/10/2018 7:35 AM
Posted By GaryW12 on 10/09/2018 6:52 PM

Can the person who is recklessly forwarding this to random people get in trouble?


Get in trouble with who? There is no "HOA Police" in Florida or most states. If somebody felt they were financially or otherwise damaged by these actions, they could sue, but they would have to prove actual damages, not some hypothetical damage.




Any judgement will be paid in chickens. Live ones of course.
FredS7
(Arizona)

Posts:854


10/10/2018 8:15 AM  
It's not clear what the issue is.

If I hire a lawyer to do some work for me (say, give an opinion on the meaning of a regulation) he sends me a letter. With the usual boilerplate at the bottom.

I can then copy and send the letter to anyone I want. I paid for the work, I own the work product.

Right?

CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:48


10/10/2018 9:17 AM  
Posted By FredS7 on 10/10/2018 8:15 AM
It's not clear what the issue is.

If I hire a lawyer to do some work for me (say, give an opinion on the meaning of a regulation) he sends me a letter. With the usual boilerplate at the bottom.

I can then copy and send the letter to anyone I want. I paid for the work, I own the work product.

Right?





No! This means that anything you've discussed with your lawyer is no longer entitled to attorney-client privilege, and your lawyer can be compelled to disclose the information. So if your lawyer is defending you against charges (for example), the prosecutor can obtain all of the info you disclosed to your attorney. It is a BAD THING.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2282


10/10/2018 12:06 PM  
I work in an office with lots of lawyers and we use similar language in our emails because (1) much of what’s discussed IS confidential and improper disclosure could be covered by other state and federal law, which can get you in a world of trouble (2) disclosure of the wrong information could affect subsequent legal action – what if the information concerns action being taken on the association’s behalf against, say a delinquent homeowner? (3) the attorney could get in trouble with the bar association if confidential information is leaked to unauthorized people.

I’m not an attorney, but because I work for them, I’m considered their agent, and therefore, he/she can get into trouble if I were to send emails with confidential information to any damned body, so that stunt would get me fired. Can’t have that, since I have a mortgage to feed (!)

In this case, if I were the attorney, I’d drop this association like a bad habit and would probably take legal action against the HOA president and possibly the association. That will get ugly very quickly and the association might be on the hook for far more than whatever the investigation might uncover.

If you’re on the board, remove this president from his/her post immediately – you probably won’t be able to remove him/her from the board itself (only homeowners can do that). I don’t care why he/she felt it was important for the people “not involved in the investigation” to get the letter – it’s none of their business! When you’re on the board, you’re held to a higher standard and the fact that this is an investigation should indicate that legal action is quite possible, if not happening already, especially if the attorney is involved. This is why board officers, especially presidents cannot and should act as lone rangers, and the entire board needs to know what’s going on and why.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7772


10/11/2018 7:55 AM  
When you’re on the board, you’re held to a higher standard...

How true and many forget this.
AugustinD


Posts:1127


10/11/2018 9:08 AM  
Posted By SheliaH on 10/10/2018 12:06 PM
In this case, if I were the attorney, I’d drop this association like a bad habit and would probably take legal action against the HOA president and possibly the association. That will get ugly very quickly and the association might be on the hook for far more than whatever the investigation might uncover.



The HOA in question has a President who appears to be ignorant of the law and is possibly seeking to annoy and harass members. Often, the more legal trouble a HOA's board stirs up among members, the more billable hours this is for a HOA attorney. I believe many HOA attorneys would view this HOA as a cash cow. The HOA attorney in question may start by billing 15 minutes for every email she receives saying a person was not an intended recipient.

I agree with the rest of what Shelia wrote.
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