Posts tagged "1016517"

Ajemian, et al. v. Yahoo!, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-165-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12237   MARIANNE AJEMIAN, coadministrator,[1] & another[2]  vs.  YAHOO!, INC.       Norfolk.     March 9, 2017. – October 16, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.[3]     Internet.  Personal Property, Ownership.  Executor and Administrator, Recovery of assets, Contracts.  Contract, Service contract.  Agency, What constitutes. Statute, Construction.  Consent.  Federal Preemption.       Complaint filed in the Norfolk Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on September 15, 2009.   Following review by the Appeals Court, 83 Mass. App. Ct. 565 (2013), the case was heard by John D. Casey, J., on motions for summary judgment.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Robert L. Kirby, Jr. (Thomas E. Kenney also present) for the plaintiffs. Marc J. Zwillinger (Jeffrey G. Landis also present) for the defendant. Mason Kortz, for Naomi Cahn & others, amici curiae, submitted a brief. James R. McCullagh & Ryan T. Mrazik, of Washington, & Joseph Aronson, for NetChoice & another, amici curiae, submitted a brief.     LENK, J.  This case concerns access sought by the personal representatives of an estate to a decedent’s electronic mail (e-mail) account.  Such an account is a form of property often referred to as a “digital asset.”  On August 10, 2006, forty-three year old John Ajemian died in a bicycle accident; he had no will.  He left behind a Yahoo!, Inc. (Yahoo), e-mail account that he and his brother, Robert Ajemian,[4] had opened four years earlier; he left no instructions regarding treatment of the account.  Robert and Marianne Ajemian, John’s siblings, subsequently were appointed as personal representatives of their brother’s estate.  In that capacity, they sought access to the contents of the e-mail account.  While providing certain descriptive information, Yahoo declined to provide access to the account, claiming that it was prohibited from doing so by certain requirements of the Stored Communications Act (SCA), 18 U.S.C. §§ 2701 et seq.  Yahoo also maintained that the terms of service governing the e-mail account provided it with discretion to reject the personal representatives’ request.  The siblings commenced an action in the Probate and Family Court challenging Yahoo’s refusal, and a judge of that court allowed Yahoo’s motion for summary judgment on the ground that the requested disclosure was prohibited by the SCA.  This appeal followed. We are […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 16, 2017 at 8:52 pm

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