Blog author: dphelps
by on Friday, December 29, 2006
Does St. Nick have insurance?

I have just returned from a week of holiday rest, and began tackling my 250 lb. email inbox. Flipping through a number of Christmas greetings and Fruitcake (Xmas spam), I came across a quick message from a dear friend, an email of the sort where the message is in the subject line, and the text is left empty (save for common signatures or disclaimers). My friend is a lawyer, I respect him very much, but I had to laugh at how his message was presented (which, I am sure, was unintended). It looked like the following (edited for privacy, of course):

SUBJECT: Merry Christmas

[Text]: IRS Circular 230 Tax Disclosure Statement: To comply with IRS requirements, please note that this communication (and any attachments) are not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties under the tax laws of the United States, or promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication (and any attachments). Please contact me if you have questions about this disclosure statement.

This message is intended only for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. It may contain privileged, confidential information that is exempt from disclosure under applicable laws. If you are not the intended recipient, please note that you are strictly prohibited from disseminating or distributing this information (other than to the intended recipient) or copying this information. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by e-mail or by telephone at (XXX) XXX-XXXX. Thank you.

Of course, this is a standard disclaimer attached to all his emails. But it is worth noting the irony that in today’s sue-phobic society, even “Merry Christmas” can contain a legal disclaimer.

And though I am risking violating the above terms, I would like to wish all PowerBlog readers a very Merry Christmas season.

(*) See Acton’s take on tort reform.