Ex-United Employee Can't Use Anonymous E-Mails

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Dec. 7 — An ex-employee of United Airlines Inc. can't introduce e-mails as evidence without authenticating information, the Western District of Pennsylvania held Dec. 7. Delilah Martsolf sued United for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by unlawfully firing her. Martsolf indicated she intended to introduce e-mails as evidence that were purportedly written by her co-worker. The anonymous e-mails were delivered to her in hard copy form, as well as to United. Notably, the areas identifying the recipient's address, subject line, and date of delivery are all blacked out on the copies.

United argued the e-mails should not be admitted into evidence, and the court agreed. Martsolf failed to make a prima facie showing of evidence to support the authenticity of the three anonymous e-mails. In addition, the co-worker denied creating the e-mails.

“The Court finds that if the e-mails were introduced into evidence, it would create a situation of having a trial within a trial as to whether these e-mails were in fact created by [the co-worker],” the court said.

Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy wrote the order.

John David Newborg in Pittsburgh represented Martsolf. Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in Chicago represented United.

The full text of Martsolf v. United Airlines Inc. is available at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/MARTSOLF_v_UNITED_AIRLINES_INC_Docket_No_213cv01581_WD_Pa_Oct_31_/1