Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Email — Business Practice as Business Duty for Business Records Exception Purposes

From Goss v. Tommy Burney Homes, Inc., 2009 Tenn. App. LEXIS 604 (Tenn. Ct. App. Sept. 2, 2009):

The Gosses contend that the trial court erred in admitting the emails because TBH failed to prove that Ms. Barnes had a business duty to record or transmit the communications in question. We disagree. In laying the foundation for introducing the emails, Ms. Barnes testified that she and Mr. Burney had worked together for more than ten years and had discovered during that time that it was critical to the success of a project that they document the process including interactions with home purchasers. As a result, they had established a system whereby they would communicate by email to each other and Ms. Barnes would print out all the emails related to a project and place them in the project file as a record. Mr. Burney confirmed this documentation and recording system in his testimony. The emails themselves also confirm this system of record-keeping as many of them state that the email is for the purpose of "documenting for the file." The evidence supports the conclusion that these were business records and properly admitted.

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