E-mails that were sent to e-mail accounts connected to a domain name that was transferred pursuant to a settlement agreement, and that were read by the new domain name owner, were not "intercepted" within the meaning of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a district court ruled. The court concluded that the e-mails were in electronic storage at the time that they were opened and read by the new domain name owner, and thus they could not be intercepted under the ECPA. Further, the court reasoned that a violation of the ECPA requires that there be an intentional interception of a communication through a "device," and the server upon which the e-mails were stored was not such a device. Finally, the court concluded that the new owner of the domain was a "direct party recipient" of the e-mails directed to the domain and thus did not violate the ECPA by reading them.
Healix Infusion Therapy, Inc. v. Helix Health, LLC, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103619 (S.D. Tex. Sept. 30, 2010) Download PDF