At a client event on October 10, 2013, attorneys at Keough & Moody, P.C., presented legal updates on State association matters to more than 50 LMS Board members and homeowners. Among the many topics discussed was how to avoid legal issues when communicating with Board members, homeowners and other third parties.
Here are some tips specifically regarding e-mail communication, presented by Charles M. Keough and Gabriella Comstock:
- Avoid using e-mail as a proxy for open meetings. Owners have the right to observe Board meetings; thus, hosting one via e-mail is not appropriate.
- An e-mail itself is a record of the corporation and it must be retained and preserved. Consider adopting a policy regarding how e-mail will be saved, who will save it, when it will be printed, when it will be deleted, etc.
- Keep in mind that when discussing the interests of an Association via e-mail, one must maintain professionalism. Also keep in mind that tone is harder to discern in an e-mail than in oral discussion.
- Consider establishing specific e-mail accounts for Board members that will be used for Association matters only.
- If a statement would be unwise to make in an open meeting, do not say it in an e-mail.
- E-mail is potentially discoverable by any party during litigation, provided it is not privileged.
- Remember: there is a “forward” button on ALL e-mail.