The Common Scold

The Common Scold is named after a cause of action that originated in Pilgrim days, when meddlesome, argumentative, opinionated women who displeased the Puritan elders were punished by a brisk dunk in the local pond. Believe it or not, the tort lasted until 1972, when State v. Palendrano, 120 N.J. Super. 336, 293 A.2d 747 (N.J.Super.L., Jul 13, 1972) pretty much put it to rest. But the thought of those feisty women, not afraid of a little cold water, has always cheered me up and inspired me. I first used the moniker as the name of my humor column at the University of San Francisco School of Law many moons ago, and revive it now for this blawg!

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Fix Those Annoying E-mail Disclaimers!

JoeHowieRGB150w Consultant Joseph Howie isn't the only one who's annoyed with those boilerplate disclaimers that clutter the bottom of almost every firm or company's e-mail messages. 

We all know the panic of realizing that you accidently sent e-mail to the wrong person, thanks to overly helpful autofill features — or that queasy feeling when you hit "reply-to-all" rather than reply-to-only-one. (Especially if you weren't exactly diplomatic in your response.)

Howie, who also is involved with the Law Institute (née E-Discovery Institute) says it really is possible to create effective disclaimers that will help protect senders in the aforementioned Maalox moments — yet not be insipid. See "Crafting Effective E-mail Disclosures: Transform your message footer from mere annoyance to pragmatic e-discovery tool." 

March 21, 2011 | Permalink


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