Lawyers who failed to immediately notify the court that they inadvertently received an e-mail from their opponents in a breach of contract case engaged in “unacceptable” and “egregious” conduct, a Manhattan judge has ruled.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Bernard Fried said the conduct of the Kelley Drye & Warren lawyers who represent subsidiaries of Cox Enterprises Inc. in a contract dispute with Acme Television Holdings “certainly violates the spirit, if not the letter,” of the New York City Bar’s ethics committee’s opinion on handling accidentally received e-mails.

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