Stupid Lawyer-Email Disclaimer

I noticed this at the bottom of an email from a lawyer on a First Amendment civil case (he’s suing, I’m defending):


This communication and any files or attachments transmitted with it are confidential, may be legally privileged, and are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which they are addressed. Because this type of communication may not be secure, can be made spontaneously, and/or is frequently treated informally, I do not accept any responsibility or duty (other than that owned in the attorney-client relationship) for the contents of such communication. Simply, you are put on notice that I do not guarantee that this communication has any accuracy whatsoever;  being on such notice and for the consideration stated below, you contractually agree that I am not liable for any damage connected with this communication whether it is actual, contractual, compensatory, restitutionary, punitive, imaginary, etc. Make a formal request in writing via certified mail to the above address if this communication needs to be verified. Please notify me immediately if you have received this communication by mistake and delete it from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that altering, disclosing, copying, distributing, or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this communication is strictly prohibited and may be a criminal offense. If you are the intended recipient or receive this communication intentionally by the intended recipient, subject to Texas Rule of Evidence (including rule 408) you are granted express consent to disclose, copy, and/or distribute this communication. In return, you agree to not alter it, for example, by removing any of these disclaimers. In violation thereof, you agree to (1) be personally liable for a minimal of $15,000 in liquidated damages, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs in collecting these damages; and (2) Texas being the appropriate jurisdiction, that its laws prevail, and Harris County being the appropriate venue. The Internal Revenue Service rules require that I advise you that the tax advice, if any, contained in this message was not intended or written to be used by you, and cannot be used by you, for the purposes of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to an other party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

Pretentious civil-lawyer stupidity makes my brain hurt.

(See also.)

15 responses to “Stupid Lawyer-Email Disclaimer”

  1. Why should I believe anything in the disclaimer when the author specifically tells me that he does not guarantee that his email was honest?

    Did the disclaimer authorize you to release only the email or both the email and disclaimer? I’m confused.

  2. It’s a good start, but I could probably shorten it:

    By receiving this e-mail, you agree to pay me $150.00 within 30 days. You further agree that the courts of [county] are the sole venue for actions involving the collection of this sum.

    On the other hand, given his ambition, I’d say he still has a little way before he outpaces War and Peace but I credit him with being off to a good start. Why is it that so many unclear thinkers insist on attaching logos and other art, and silly disclaimers that fail the straight-face test, to every e-mail?

  3. If these disclaimers are important and legally effective, why are they appended only to email correspondence?

    • Yes, you did. The consideration is “express consent to disclose, copy, and/or distribute this communication.” That’s the spinning propeller on top of the asshat.

  4. One thing not mentioned is that email doesn’t just wind up in the wrong person’s box (there are some cases but they’re relatively few). So a lot of time, the Wrong person will still be the intended recipient according to how this is written. I have a really common name and frequently get emails from other people with my name (11 as of last count) or some combination of it. Each one says “Dear William” or “Hey Bill” – he should learn to use an Address book and be done with the whole mess, but i guess he wouldn’t be able to get his legal freestyle on.

  5. Not a stupid lawyer disclaimer, it’s a stupid judge disclaimer. Necessary because some judges actually give weight to mouse type.

  6. Hah, sometimes you just have to laugh at these things. $15k…seriously? Though I have to agree with Stephan. If this is supposedly so important, why is this lawyer only attaching it to their emails?

  7. Not sure how something this discombobulating and meandering is meaningful. Is it my fault if I get an email intended for someone else? And am I forced to read this drivel if I do. I would say not.

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