July 01, 2019

Directors’ Private Emails May Not Stay Private

Directors & Boards

Philadelphia partner Doug Raymond has a timely reminder for Directors & Boards readers, particularly in an era typified by fast-moving, and at times ill-advised, communications: “Directors’ Private Emails May Not Stay Private.”

In the article, Doug points to the recent Schnatter v. Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. litigation, in which the founder and chairman of pizza chain Papa John’s requested broad access to electronic communications from the board and a special committee tasked with handling his controversial use of a racial slur and consequent departure from the company. The wide-ranging investigation obligated lawyers to review the directors’ digital trail, including personal text messages and emails. The matter unmasked broader issues with directors who conduct board work using their personal accounts, including the risk of subjecting their personal emails to third-party review amid litigation, the potential misinterpretation of poorly-worded exchanges, and potential exposure to data breaches stemming from the use of unsecured portals.

Associate Sujata Wiese assisted with this article.

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