There is an old saying in the computer industry, ‘everyone makes mistakes, but to really screw-up use a computer’. Attorney Angela Turiano of Bressler Amery & Ross learned this lesson recently the hard way. Wells Fargo who was not a party to a lawsuit between two brothers (Gary Sinderbrand a former Wells Fargo employee, plaintiff and Steven Sinderbrand a current Wells Fargo employee, defendant). Attorney Turiano went on to create a massive data breach of sensitive information.
Attorney Truiano was responding to a 3rd party discovery subpoena for e-mails requested by the plaintiff that were sent between the bank and the defendant brother. Using unfamiliar discovery software Attorney Truiano thought she was reviewing the e-mails to be turned over in the subpoena. According to the New York Times, after reviewing what she thought were all of the documents, she created a CD and sent to Gary Sinderbrand’s attorney more than 1.4 gigabytes of Wells Fargo client files that included wealthy customer names, social security numbers, financial data of clients, and fees paid to the bank.
Judges in New York and New Jersey have issued orders barring the further release of data and ordering the plaintiff to delete all copies. In addition the courts are requiring the plaintiff to turn over the CD for safekeeping.
Attorney everywhere should be reminded that if you are using electronic discovery tools and software that you are not familiar with, ask questions and review the results before hitting the send key.