Email and alcohol may be a bad combination, as seen in the case of a New Jersey lawyer who is now facing a defamation claim. The individual in question admitted that he was consuming alcohol at the time he sent the email. A judge has allowed the claim to proceed, noting that the lawyer's former client could sue. A dollar value has not yet been set in the suit.
The case is based on an email that was sent out by this lawyer to approximately 36 judges and other bankruptcy lawyers. The document allegedly indicated that the client in question attempted to influence the outcome of one of the firm's bankruptcy cases involving a hospital. It suggested that the client wanted assistance from the lawyer in bidding for the hospital in question. The client actually lost during the bidding process related to the hospital.
The lawyer's email suggested that the client wanted the matter to be fixed in their favor. Additionally, it stated that the client threatened to withhold payment and sue in case of an adverse outcome. The timing of the lawyer's email followed the client's filing of a lawsuit for legal malpractice. However, this suit was related to a separate bankruptcy matter.
In a hypothetical situation, an individual working with a lawyer would typically have certain professional expectations of that party, including privacy related to matters at issue in legal cases. A client might have reason for concern in certain situations if their matters were divulged to other firms with which the individual might later need to work. An attorney who has experience in this type of professional negligence litigation can often be of assistance to such a person.