The Spam Filter Dog Ate Your E-Mail Notice

Just as pleading that the dog ate your homework, you won’t get far with a judge by pleading that you never received an important legal notice because it must have gone to the spam folder.

In Emerald Coast Utilities v. Bear Marcus Pointe, the utility ended up having to pay BMP’s legal fees not because the weight of the merits so tipped in favor of that outcome. Nope. Rather, the utility’s law firm had a poorly designed email spam system, and they simply never saw the notice for the hearing where the lawyers could have probably made a convincing argument against those fees.

As one commentator points out, “an inability to manage an office e-mail system to properly receive notices of filing does not qualify as excusable neglect.”

While this was about lawyers and law firms, don’t think this excuses normal people like you and your company. Make sure to have email accounts that are general purpose (like “[email protected]…”) and make sure those get monitored regularly for notices from the various local, county, state and federal agencies that you are regulated by. Don’t let the homework-eating dog bite you in the … you know.

Not a Leg to Stand On

The law has a curious concept called “standing”. Meaning, you stand for yourself. You can’t stand for someone else. This comes to play in a lawsuit when you try to sue to enforce your right, but then it turns out that it’s not really your right that your trying to protect but rather someone else’s right.

If you’re going to try to sue me for walking on your grass, or, say, infringing your patent, the courts won’t look too kindly if it turns out that the grass (or, in this case, the patent) doesn’t actually belong to you. Oops.