What Every Attorney Needs to Know about Computer Forensics, Part 4: What Trusts and Estates Attorneys Need to Know about Computer Forensics

September 30, 2016 - from DisputeSoft's G. Hunter Jones

Trusts and Estates attorneys play an important role in helping their clients transfer assets through such vehicles as trust agreements, wills, business structures, and power of attorney. In most cases the disposition of an estate moves along smoothly, especially when a qualified attorney plans and executes the process.  However, this is not always the case. When a beneficiary (or hopeful beneficiary) raises concerns about lost or altered documents, or believes that the trustor has been unjustifiably influenced in some manner, expert assistance may be necessary to resolve the matter.  From medical and psychological examiners to document and computer forensics analysts, experts can prove pivotal for answering important questions about the timing, sequence, and authorship of key documents.

Consider the following situations, which reflect the kind of investigations DisputeSoft’s experts may be called upon to carry out:

1. A retired attorney chooses to prepare and revise his own trust instrument.  The word processing document exists on his personal computer, making the revision process simple to complete.  After making edits to three pages of his trust document, he reprints and replaces only those specific pages in the printed trust instrument.  However,   the printer he uses to make these revisions is slightly different

Computer Fraud and Abuse – United States v. Nosal; Facebook v. Vachani

August 25, 2016 - from DisputeSoft

Two cases recently coming out of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided issues related to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and “access without authorization.” United States v. Nosal, a criminal case, involved a former employee accessing a computer system with borrowed login credentials from a current employee. Facebook v. Vachani, a civil case, involved a different social media outlet accessing Facebook’s computer system on the basis of user-granted access. In both cases, the Court decided that the parties accessed the system “without authorization,” despite being given “authorization” by a user or other authorized party. Specifically, the Court decided:

(1) In Nosal, a former employee whose access credentials have been revoked acts without authorization when the employee knowingly accesses a computer system using a borrowed login credential; and

(2) In Facebook, a third party who has been granted access by a user does not receive authority to access the entire system, but only to the user’s account; and receiving a cease and desist letter renders a party liable for CFAA violation for continued use.


These decisions make a case for the notion of dual authorization regarding access to computer systems and accounts. Access …

Tata Consultancy Services and Orange County, CA Settle Marathon Software Failure Suit for $26M

August 24, 2016 - from Orange County Executive Office

On August 19, Orange County, California received notification that India’s largest IT firm, Tata Consultancy Services, had wired $26 million to the County Treasurer-Tax Collector, officially ending a 3-year lawsuit between the two parties.  More than 6 years ago, Orange County hired Tata to replace the county’s automated property tax system by 2010.  After a 3-year extension plagued by delays, Orange County terminated the contract and sued Tata over the failed project, alleging fraud.  Orange County claimed the IT firm had lied about its capabilities and was intentionally stretching out the contract in an attempt to make more money.  The $26 million settlement is the largest amount recovered by the county in more than 20 years.

Read the Press Release here
Read the Settlement Agreement here