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Hypothetical only: an email gets sent to the intended and…

Hypothetical only: an email gets...
Hypothetical only: an email gets sent to the intended and also one other, is it illegal for the other to read it? IF it were
a mistake and got sent to both instead of just the one, what is the legal position of the sender and recipient(s)?Who is
in trouble with the law here or is anyone? Civil or criminal?
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
3/13/2018
legalgems
legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12,570
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Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

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If a confidential email is sent to the wrong person the recipient has no duty of care to the sender or the person that is the subject of the email.

This is due to the fact that there is no "privity"(connection) between the recipient and the other parties.

However, if the recipient then forwards known confidential information the recipient may be sued for invasion of privacy (publication of private fact)

Similarly the sender may be liable under the common law doctrine of negligence; basically the sender is liable for any harm that arises due to their negligent transmittal of confidential information.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you, ***** ***** the act itself a problem for the sender or only if there are negative consequences? Anything against the
sender for the appearance of sending another's email to the unintended recipient, or by computer routing mistake?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Some of what I have read seems to indicate the issue is on the recipient, if they get an unintended email, they should
delete it, but again could you clarify what is upon the sender regarding this?

Generally in order to have an actionable claim a plaintiff must prove that they suffered damages that were "reasonably foreseeable" and "proximately caused" by the negligent misconduct.

So if there are no damages then generally there is nothing for the court to do other than issue an injunction against future violations.

The recipient is expected to delete it but there is no law to that effect.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you. One more, is the injunction like a name change? What type of procedure is it, does the person have a record?
Is that all or is it open to more?Also, if the addressee does not know if it was sent to the wrong person, is that the end of that issue if no damages? The hypothetical situation I am thinking of is a wife sending her husband an email just a fun personal one about a restaurant coupon for example, that she saw and he may like to see - but is not necessary, then she hits send and it gets attached or
looks like it was sent to her friend and husband both. Would really help if you could explain the angles here and how
that relates to the various responsibilities with this issue, like the ones you went over.

No, an injunction precludes a party from releasing the information to other parties (ie so the recipient cannot forward the message).

Then if the relationship is ongoing an injunction can be issued against the sender, requiring them to take necessary precautions to prevent similar mishaps.

Normally since there are no economic damages for sending a coupon to an unintended recipient the case would dismiss the case. In order to bring a case one needs to have damages (personal injury, economic harm).

If the addressee did not know they were not the intended recipient then generallly that is simply the end of it.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
It is not clear to me about the consequences of an injunction. Is it like losing custody of a child? Does the person have a
record? In the context of the example, what does it mean? Dismissed case, what do you mean by that? And no case would
be brought to personal harm or due to no damages or personal harm? If there were none, the parties could not say, oh this
got sent to the wrong person also, this is against the law, what to do?

An injunction forbids a person from doing a certain act, or orders them to do a particular act.

A civil injunction is not on one's record.

Losing custody of a child is completely different as that is a family law issue.

An injunction may be for example to remove a fence that is on a third party's property, to pay a certain bill, etc.

If personal information was erroneously provided to a third party then there would be possible damages (ie monitoring of a credit report as we often see in data breach cases). But if there is no harm (ie a recipe was sent to the wrong person by mistake) then there is no legally recognized damage.

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