While stories of “sexting” and cheating husbands are common fare in tabloid magazines, such salacious facts are a relative rarity in U.S. Supreme Court cases. It is equally unusual for the Supreme Court to issue opinions with the potential to touch upon aspects of electronic discovery. A perfect storm is brewing in the form of City of Ontario v. Quon, No. 08-1332, in which the Supreme Court will address a government employee’s expectation of privacy in text messages sent from his employer-issued device — including spicy text messages sent to his wife and alleged mistress. Although Quon involves a public employer, the Court’s ruling potentially could have far-reaching implications for workplace best practices in the private sector as well. In addition, Quon has the potential to extend its reach to other forms of electronic communication beyond text messages, including other types of “outlier” electronically stored information (ESI).
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