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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/29/2005 8:30:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/29/2005 8:31:28 AM EDT by niceguymr]
Here's the situation...

Guy A is a friend of Guy B. Guy A gives a personal loan of X$ to Guy B with no written IOU or promissory note. Guy A and Guy B are no longer friends. Guy A sends an email to Guy B requesting repayment of loan of X$. Guy B responds on email and acknowledges that he owes Guy A X$ but does not have the money to repay (which is BS). So all Guy A has as proof of this loan is the email correspondence that took place where Guy B acknowledges that he does in fact owe Guy A X$.

Would this email correspondece be admissable in Small Claims Court?

P.S. Guy A is an idiot for loaning money to someone without a written IOU. Now he knows better of course. Guy B is just being an a-hole.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 8:41:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By niceguymr:
Here's the situation...

Guy A is a friend of Guy B. Guy A gives a personal loan of X$ to Guy B with no written IOU or promissory note. Guy A and Guy B are no longer friends. Guy A sends an email to Guy B requesting repayment of loan of X$. Guy B responds on email and denies that he owes Guy A X$. So all Guy A has as proof of this loan is the email correspondence that took place where Guy B denies that he does in fact owe Guy A X$.

Would this email correspondece be admissable in Small Claims Court?

P.S. Guy A is an idiot for loaning money to someone without a written IOU. Now he knows better of course. Guy B is just being an a-hole.


I don't know the answer, but emails can be changed to suit one's needs just as easily as the above quote.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 8:42:26 AM EDT
Not a lawyer, but I believe email is admissable as evidence. At least that is what they tell you at work

Lacking any other corroboration, the guy could deny that he sent it.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 8:47:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/29/2005 8:51:00 AM EDT by Backstop]
If your computer is hacked by a 'reputable' hack - i.e. .gov hack - then yes, it can be used as evidence.

I don't have a link or an article, just my experience. My emails are in a deposition, and went to court.

EDIT: crud - missed the Small Claims portion.

At least they were in my example above.

Small Claims? I dunno.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 8:50:00 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 9:44:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/29/2005 9:45:22 AM EDT by wildearp]
It is probably up to the Judge. Judge examines document and asks defendant if it is accurate. If he says yes, then it is evidence. If he says no, it is here-say.

Just my guess, probably better than nothing.

Just filing the lawsuit may get his ass in gear to pay.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 11:03:26 AM EDT
It's admissable .

It's an exception to the hearsay rule as it is an admission of a party. This is a standard rule of evidence in all states. Accordingly, it can not only be used for impeachment purposes but also in the plaintiff's case in cheif as evidence that there exits a debt between the parties.

Beyond that answer, look to your states local rules of evidence.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 11:11:39 AM EDT
E-mail would probably be admissible if recieved directly from the ISP.

A mere printout from your compuer would not make good evidence, as there is no proof that you sent it...

However, if someone from the ISP is there to testify that the e-mail in question is as he recovered it from the server, unaltered and authentic, then it would be believable evidence, no different from a letter...
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 2:10:17 PM EDT
Thanks for all your input guys.

I did some further research and went as far as contacting some computer forensic experts via email, and explained the story to them. These are the kind of guys that are used to verify authenticity of this kinf of stuff for any legal case where electronic documentation must be authenticated.

I was surprised to hear back from 4 different firms. 2 of them said that so long as the 'received' email still sits on the server, and can be proven via hard and digital copy presented as evidence in court, it's generally admissible. The cost of providing legally admissible authentication paperwork would excede the value of the claim, and therefore the judge would simply rule in favor of the plantiff provided there is substantial and convincing documentation. A couple of the other repsonses offered to provide the legal authentication with fees ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars (right in the ballpark of the claim). Also, nowadays, if need be, a judge may provide access to a computer to pull up the email if necessary. It probably wouldn't get that far anyway.

Therefore, I have advised my friend simply to retain file copies of these emails on disk as well as hard (printout) copies and to bring them to court with him. He should probably bring in his laptop too, just in case they have WiFi and he is able to pull up the email directly on his computer.
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