Your cell phone and your legal case


January 9, 2022
By: Charles Lamberton

In employment litigation, the parties often take a keen interest in electronically stored information (ESI). And one of the most fertile sources of ESI is the ubiquitous cell phone. The ESI it contains can make or break a case. It can prove that a plaintiff was harassed or suffered severe emotional distress. It sometimes has damning admissions of wrongdoing. And sometimes, it can contain information that hurts the plaintiff’s case. What kind of ESI do lawyers look for on cell phones? We look for photos, text messages, iMessages, locational data, email, contacts, call logs, browsing history, voicemail-to-text letters, voice memos, calendar items, and so on. Think of a cell phone potentially containing a thousand exhibits that will be used at trial. A Pittsburgh employment attorney will tell you that there are three rules to remember about your phone if you think you have a case against your current or former employer: first, don’t delete anything; second, don’t use it to talk about your claim, and third, don’t send or post any messages that make you look silly, stupid, greedy or dishonest.