Unsolicited Email Received from Someone Whom the Recipient Has Never Been in Contact with Not Sufficiently Authenticated (Linked to Sender) Simply by Recipient’s Testimony

From Jimena v. UBS AG Bank, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68560 (E.D. Cal. June 24, 2011):

"When a letter, signed with the purported signature of X, is received 'out of the blue,' with no previous correspondence, the traditional 'show me' skepticism of the common law prevails, and the purported signature is not sufficient as authentication, unless authenticity is confirmed by additional facts." 2 Kenneth S. Broun, McCormick On Evidence § 224 (6th ed. 2006). The same rule applies to self-identification by a speaker in an unsolicited telephone call. Fed. R. Evid. 901 Adv. Comm. Note (b), Ex. 6 ("The cases are in agreement that a mere assertion of his identity by a person talking on the telephone is not sufficient evidence of the authenticity of the conversation and that additional evidence of his identity is required."); United States v. Puerta Restrepo, 814 F.2d 1236, 1239 (7th Cir. 1987); United States v. Pool, 660 F.2d 547, 560 (5th Cir. 1981). Likewise, "[w]hen the recipient of an e-mail attempts to prove that the message was authored by a particular individual whose name appears in the header, such self-identification by designated sender is insufficient to establish authorship." Paul R. Rice, Electronic Evidence: Law & Evidence 348 (2d ed. 2008). Self-identification in an unsolicited e-mail supports authenticity, but is not, by itself, considered sufficient. Id.

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