Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Email Authentication — Receipt in Ordinary Course of Business

Email authentication was the issue in State v. Reynolds, 2007 Iowa App. LEXIS 232 (Iowa App. Feb. 28, 2007), a prosecution for theft for cashing in phony postal money orders at a bank. The prosecution offered, and the trial court admitted, packets of documents relating to each transaction at issue consisting of (1) a bank transaction ticket, (2) a cash out statement, (3) a postal money order, (4) an email from the Federal Reserve, and (5) an error report from the Federal Reserve. No witness was called from the Federal Reserve to authenticate items (4) and (5), nor was any attestation or certification of authenticity obtained from the Fed. Rather, an employee of the bank at which the phony money orders were cashed testified that the emails and error reports were received from the Fed in the normal course of the bank’s business. The Reynolds Court held that this evidence sufficiently authenticated the email and error report because it constituted evidence that ‛[t]he bank customarily kept these reports and relied upon them as part of its business.“

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