Paul L. Caron

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Subpoena For Trump Lawyer John Eastman's Documents On Chapman's Server Highlights Risk Of Faculty Use Of Law School Accounts For Personal Email

ABA Journal, Chapman University Says It Didn’t Authorize Law Prof’s Representation of Trump, Yet Work Was on Server:

Eastman 2Law professors often use school emails when representing clients, but they may want to rethink that, following a recent subpoena sent to Chapman University from the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack, seeking documents from former faculty member John Eastman.

The Jan. 20, 2022, subpoena relates to the constitutional law professor’s legal representation of former President Donald Trump and the 2020 election, and includes emails, contact lists and calendar entries on the university server.

Eastman retired in January 2021. On Jan. 25, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled against Eastman’s motion to quash the subpoena and enjoin the committee from enforcing it. Among his arguments, Eastman claimed the server documents included attorney work-product, which have a privacy expectation.

Eastman had no expectation of privacy on the university server, and a written school policy said as much, according to the government’s Jan. 21 motion opposing Eastman’s TRO request. ...

“I suspect most law professors assume their emails are private. This surprises me a bit because I often comment publicly that people too frequently are lulled into carelessness about what they say in emails and then are shocked that emails are discoverable—in situations ranging from divorces to congressional subpoenas,” Catherine Ross, a George Washington University Law School constitutional law professor, told the ABA Journal in an email. ...

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