Bipolar disorder no excuse for email hacker

Leor Exploration v. Aguiar, 2010 WL 3782195 (S.D. Fla. September 28, 2010)

Plaintiffs claimed that defendant hacked into one of the plaintiffs’ email accounts during the litigation to get an advantage in the case. The court entered severe sanctions against defendant for doing this — it struck his answer. In litigation, that is like declaring plaintiffs the winners.

Defendant had argued to the magistrate judge that his mental illness (bipolar disorder) caused him to hack plaintiff’s email account out of fear for his security. Defendant even presented expert testimony from a psychiatrist to support the claim that he lacked the mental state to act in bad faith.

In adopting the magistrate’s findings, the district judge found defendant’s psychiatric expert’s testimony unmoving. (Mainly because defendant’s lawyers limited what the expert could say.) So the court relied on other evidence that showed defendant’s bad faith intent in accessing the email. The novel theory of “not guilty of email hacking by reason of insanity” failed in this case.