Can lawyers request and procure your download information from outside companies if they are unrelated to a case?

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Can lawyers request and procure your download information from outside companies if they are unrelated to a case?

A friend of mine has recently needed to sign an affidavit for a case to indicate that a co-worker had downloaded restricted information at his present company. My friend is worried that as part of the case, the co-worker’s lawyers may want to access my friend’s download information from his previous company. Is this legally possible, given that my friend having downloaded information in his previous occupation has no relevance or bearing to the current case? The information that my friend downloaded did not contain trade secrets, and was not used in any way or form for personal or business interests. In fact, it was not even uploaded to the current employer’s laptop/system, but resided in his personal laptop. Even that has now been deleted/destroyed.

Asked on February 16, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The lawyers can request it from a previous employer, and the previous employer could choose to voluntarily provide it. If they don't voluntarily provide it, the lawyer could try to subpoena it, and if he does, the company or your friend could try to fight the subpoena on grounds that the information is not relevant to the lawyers' case and/or is privileged in some way; in that event, a court would ultimately decide if it has to be provided, which it the court might, if the information is relevant and not priviliged or unduly sensitive.


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