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Zachary
Zachary, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3825
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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A prior friend hacked my private emails from her home in the

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A prior friend hacked my private emails from her home in the state of PA. Both her and I were working on a joint lawsuit so I think my password XXXXX saved on her computer in error. The friend and I had a falling out and became estranged late 2009. About 9 months later, the President of a condo association that I own a home at, sent me an email with attachments of my private emails that must have been hacked either by him or my prior friend Jun/July 2010. The Pres of condo assoc lives in another state. Although I think estranged friend supplied hacked emails to Pres. via email across state lines, the only info I have is that the Pres hacked my email because he is the one that forwarded them to me via email. I do have copies and still have emails. I had gone to local police and filed a complaint. I also filed a criminal complaint online with FBI Aug 2010 & have a support case number XXXXX heard nothing. In Sept I wrote letter to DA's office and heard nothing. I kept pressing for months and eventually met with the Assistant DA about Jan 2011 and he told me the court is too overwhelmed with rapists and murderes and it is not a good use of tax dollars. My question is the following: The state of PA statute of limitations is 1 year but is the federal statute longer? If PA statute is expired do I go to Federal court and file? Do I need a lawyer to represent me? Am I entitled to damages from both parties such as estranged friend and also Pres of Condo Association. The President tried to use those emails to cause me financial harm. I believe the estranged friend supplied the Pres with other emails and information that compromised our lawsuit against the condo association and harmed me even more financially. I believe the following laws were broken: Invasion of Privacy, Email Hacking, Wire Tapping. Please advise as to what to do for next steps. Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zachary replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, cyber crimes do often go unpunished. The federal and state prosecutors offices have limited budgets and often are forced to pick and choose which crimes they prosecute.

Thus, you are correct in that what you would need to do is file a personal lawsuit against the President of the HOA for invasion of privacy and violations of the Computer Fraud Abuse Act (see: http://www.law.com/jsp/lawtechnologynews/PubArticleLTN.jsp?id=1349636929490&slreturn=20130203150355).

You would need to bring the lawsuit against the President in his state of residence in a state court. You would also attempt so sue him in the federal court in your state and assert that his actions bring him under the court's jurisdiction. Assuming you live in PA, the invasion of privacy claim would fall under state law, and has a statute of limitations is one year. The federal computer fraud claim has a two year statute of limitations.

Federal court is procedurally difficult and while you have the right to represent yourself, it would be best to hire a lawyer to present your claims. The other issue I think you face is proving up some form of damages. Did their actions cause you any actual financial harm?

Finally, you should at this time on sue the President, with the possibility of adding in your ex-friend to the lawsuit if you actually find evidence to support your allegation that it was her who hacked your account.

-ZDN
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

First off, when does the statute of limitations begin? From the time I found out about the email hacking? The president's first email to me was in July 2010. So in the state of PA, the statute would run out in July 2011? Yes, No? I had tried for at least 6 months to prosecute and then gave up but still feel that what he/they did to me was horrible.


 


I do believe we suffered financial harm, possibly $7000-$10,000. We were involved in a lawsuit against the condo association for lost rental income and ended up not receiving fair settlement from the condo association. All of our confidential legal information and our every move with our attorney was done via email. The President and estranged friend had access to that since they were in my email account. They knew what our lawyers defense was by reading our client attorney priviledged information and they were the defendent in the case, we were the plaintiff.


Is there a longer statute if filing federally and can you be awarded damages?

Expert:  Zachary replied 1 year ago.
Your main claim is going to be under the federal statute which has a two year statute of limitations. It will begin to run from the discovery of the hacked emails.

You say the "first" email was in July 2010, that would mean that the statute of limitations ran out in July 2012 and a claim for this particular email would be barred.

However, if this was part of a series of emails, the statute would start running from the last email that showed hacking. Is it possible that this would still get you in under the 2 year statute?

Regarding a federal statute of limitations, there is no applicable statute for the invasion of privacy because such a claim is a state law claim (and thus there is no applicable federal statute of limitations--the federal court uses the state limitations). Even if you brought an invasion of privacy claim against him based on another state's law (where he lives), these statute of limitations are never more than 2 years and you would run into the same problems.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

You have only mentioned invasion of privacy statute.


 


Is there a different statute of limitations for the other things such as wire tapping and computer cyber crime? I believe the President was getting emails from the estranged friends across state lines which I believe makes it federal. I think I read for Federal Cyber Crimes, some of the statutes run 3 to 5 years depending upon if it is grade I to grade 3 or they are lettered, A,B,C,D. but cannot remember the details. Can you explain that to me.


 


So are you telling me there is nothing that I can do at this point in time?


 


I tried for almost a year straight to prosecute but never went to an attorney because I was tight on cash from going through a divorce. This incident recently came up in conversation again and brought the forefront and I thought I could still do something about it. It is a shame we have laws and one cannot prosecute to have the state and federal government enforce those laws. It's not like I didn't try. I also looked up my Cyber Crimes complaint case on the gov't IC3 site and it does exist and was filed in Aug. 2010.


 


If I were to go to an attorney for an opinion, what type should I search for?


 


 


 


 

Expert:  Zachary replied 1 year ago.
The President has invaded your privacy. That is a state law claim and has a state law statute of limitations of one year.

The President has either personally hacked into your email, or has received your email from someone who did (either at his request and direction, or (as you assert) from your ex-friend who apparently has a vendetta for you). This is not "wire tapping". It is computer fraud, and it is actionable under the federal Computer Fraud Abuse Act. This has a two year statute of limitations.

When talking about cyber crimes, you have to remember that a crime is only punishable by the government. Just because something is a crime does not mean you can privately sue under the statute. The only time you can sue under a statute is when the statute provides a "private cause of action." Most criminal statutes do not. The statute of limitations to which you are referring are for the criminal prosecution and do not apply to the private claims you have.

It is a shame that there is not an exception to the statute of limitations for situations like this (where a person has tried to get government action and is forced to take civil action as a result). Unfortunately, the statute of limitations is harsh.

You might also be able to bring a straight fraud claim against the HOA President. You said he lives out of state...what state?

When you respond back I'll talk about what kind of attorney you should look for.

-ZDN
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


He lives in the state of CT.


Does fraud have a longer statute?

Expert:  Zachary replied 1 year ago.
Yes, in CT the statute of limitations on fraud is 3 years. Surprisingly, the invasion of privacy statute is also 3 years (this is an exception to the general rule).

As this is the case, you will want to file your lawsuit in Connecticut as assert CT claims for fraud and invasion of privacy.

You should contact an CT lawyer who specializes in fraud claims. These are going to primarily be either commercial litigators and/or plaintiff's attorneys. A simple google search for "Connecticut fraud lawyers" and "Connecticut commercial litigation" should bring up a list of lawyers who would be the right choice for this type of case.
Zachary, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3825
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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