First Amendment doesn’t protect racist bankers who called Indians ‘chimps’: judge


thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,669
1,745
It doesn't really mention the reason for the lawsuit. Are they claiming the first amendment should prevent the use of these emails being admitted as evidence for some part of the case?
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
1,433
11,628
The attorney for the defendants argued ...

Searle and Bauer’s attorney maintains that the emails were private between the two men and should be protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution’s protections for free speech, a motion that the judge denied. The plaintiffs’ attorney was sent the emails anonymously.
I looked briefly into the issue of email privacy, and while the boundaries of the law are still being established, it appears that in most cases, work email is not considered private ...

If an electronic mail (e-mail) system is used at a company, the employer owns it and is allowed to review its contents. Messages sent within the company as well as those that are sent from your terminal to another company or from another company to you can be subject to monitoring by your employer. This includes web-based email accounts such as Gmail and Yahoo as well as instant messages. The same holds true for voice mail systems. In general, employees should not assume that these activities are not being monitored and are private.

https://www.privacyrights.org/workplace-privacy-and-employee-monitoring
So it looks to me as if no 1st Amendment violation exists here.
 

iBlazed

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2014
1,593
1,224
New Jersey, United States
Amazing how many people fail to understand how the first amendment actually works, including many attorneys. If you want to make comments like this, make them at home with like minded friends. That would be protected by the first amendment. As someone who's dealt with Indians regularly, Indian Americans tend to be VERY difficult customers, but you just don't make these types of comments especially at work.
 

tgara

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2012
993
2,733
Connecticut, USA
It doesn't really mention the reason for the lawsuit. Are they claiming the first amendment should prevent the use of these emails being admitted as evidence for some part of the case?

Yeah, the case comes about from a loan the bank gave these Indian customers. They had trouble repaying the loan, and the bank foreclosed on it. The Indian plaintiffs are alleging racism and unfair business dealings. Racism needs a good degree of proof, and the inflammatory emails are included in the evidence. The bank is trying to keep these emails out for obvious reasons. They tried a first amendment argument, which the judge denied. The other bit was that the defense attorney took more than a year to make this argument, so the judge also denied the motion to exclude th emails because they took too long.
 

Michael Goff

Suspended
Original poster
Jul 5, 2012
13,262
7,298
It doesn't really mention the reason for the lawsuit. Are they claiming the first amendment should prevent the use of these emails being admitted as evidence for some part of the case?
They tried to use the 1st Amendment to keep evidence from court.

I don't see what this has to do with the 1A.
Neither do I, really, but it was argued that it had something to do with it.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
Neither do I, really, but it was argued that it had something to do with it.
Yeah, I'm trying to figure that out myself. The 1st doesn't protect your right to keep your conversations private, so it's not that. I guess the lawyer was trying to claim that the government was using what his clients said against them in court, which would be a violation the 1st. Thing is, it isn't the government holding them accountable. It's the plaintiffs. So it doesn't work there, either.

The only thing that makes sense is that, pretty much like you said, it was a longshot attempt on the lawyers part to suppress some really damning evidence that didn't work out.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,669
1,745
Yeah, the case comes about from a loan the bank gave these Indian customers. They had trouble repaying the loan, and the bank foreclosed on it. The Indian plaintiffs are alleging racism and unfair business dealings. Racism needs a good degree of proof, and the inflammatory emails are included in the evidence. The bank is trying to keep these emails out for obvious reasons. They tried a first amendment argument, which the judge denied. The other bit was that the defense attorney took more than a year to make this argument, so the judge also denied the motion to exclude the emails because they took too long.
Ah that makes more sense. Thanks. In terms of racism, it matters whether racist beliefs caused the plaintiffs to be subjected to some difference in terms or business decisions. It's strange hearing the first amendment invoked to prevent the use of evidence.


They tried to use the 1st Amendment to keep evidence from court.
Yeah that sounds like a silly argument. I mean it should protect their rights to make jerk comments, but this relates to whether those comments help prove some influence on business terms. No one is really telling them that they can't use jerk-speak.
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
Don't know about this ... I'd probably compare the bankers to a bunch of bonobos myself.
 

jkcerda

macrumors 6502a
Jun 10, 2013
682
38,997
Criminal Mexi Midget
The attorney for the defendants argued ...



I looked briefly into the issue of email privacy, and while the boundaries of the law are still being established, it appears that in most cases, work email is not considered private ...



So it looks to me as if no 1st Amendment violation exists here.
If I read that correctly, it implies that the emails are not private sighing the workers. Not between the CO and the customers , your boss can see your email history if he wants, but your customers don't have access to your e-mail history
 

Technarchy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2012
6,747
4,885
The guys did not pay their bills & had to deal with foreclosure. No reason for a trial to begin with, Nothing racist there IMHO
Racist or not, not paying your bills tends to result in a negative outcome.

This is news?
 

Renzatic

Suspended
The guys did not pay their bills & had to deal with foreclosure. No reason for a trial to begin with, Nothing racist there IMHO
It's never that simple. Were they making attempts to pay the bill, but were having trouble paying the full amount on a month to month basis? If they had missed entire payments, how much time had passed since their last? One month? Two? Three? Did they agree to a forbearance beforehand?

Foreclosures generally tend to happen at the end of an extended period of missed payments and non-cooperation. From the sounds of things, this just happened suddenly, and took them entirely by surprise.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,669
1,745
The guys did not pay their bills & had to deal with foreclosure. No reason for a trial to begin with, Nothing racist there IMHO
I wasn't questioning that, but if this case was that simple it probably wouldn't make it to court, much less involve extensive pre-trial work.
 

jkcerda

macrumors 6502a
Jun 10, 2013
682
38,997
Criminal Mexi Midget
It's never that simple. Were they making attempts to pay the bill, but were having trouble paying the full amount on a month to month basis? If they had missed entire payments, how much time had passed since their last? One month? Two? Three? Did they agree to a forbearance beforehand?

Foreclosures generally tend to happen at the end of an extended period of missed payments and non-cooperation
. From the sounds of things, this just happened suddenly, and took them entirely by surprise.
everyone is just "assuming" w/o those details.

most of the clientele appears to be of the same race as those who had their property foreclosed
Lotus Bank, Inc. — located in Novi, CA — serves a heavily Indian-American clientele and of its 17 directors, a majority are Indian.
if the bankers were truly racist they would not have granted the loan in the first place, going to assume here & state that other Indians are not being foreclosed upon since they are not suing.

----------

I wasn't questioning that, but if this case was that simple it probably wouldn't make it to court, much less involve extensive pre-trial work.
bankers made stupid comments & a judge sees fit to take things to trial over it.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
I wasn't questioning that, but if this case was that simple it probably wouldn't make it to court, much less involve extensive pre-trial work.
And this. It's not like someone can scream "that's UNFAIR", and suddenly force an expensive jury trial on everyone (well...there are exceptions). For a lawyer to even consider going against something like a bank in what seems like a bog standard loan dispute, let alone a judge, the plaintiff has to lay a compelling case in front of them, it has to have Prima Facie.

If it goes to court, there's (usually) a good case behind it.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

macrumors 65816
Feb 11, 2010
1,100
1,293
Racist political speech is protected. But, that would seem to be totally unrelated to what actually happened.

And, even the strongest of privacy advocates would consider business mail or email regarding a business decision (what to do about a delinquent loan) to be potential evidence in a lawsuit.

The first amendment argument is a red herring.
 

TechGod

macrumors 68040
Feb 25, 2014
3,163
840
New Zealand
Amazing how many people fail to understand how the first amendment actually works, including many attorneys. If you want to make comments like this, make them at home with like minded friends. That would be protected by the first amendment. As someone who's dealt with Indians regularly, Indian Americans tend to be VERY difficult customers, but you just don't make these types of comments especially at work.
I would like to say, older generation of Indians. while I have not lived in India since I was 2, the last time I visited india(3 years back) some of the kids were face palming so hard over their parents behaviour.

Such a shame that the older generation have potentially ruined the reputation of the younger generation which are far more polite.
 
Last edited:

Grey Beard

macrumors 65816
Sep 10, 2005
1,008
62
The Antipodes.
No, it's about Indian immigrants to the US. Not Native Americans.
This; from the article made me believe they referred to American-Indians.

KGB:cool:

Lotus Bank, Inc. — located in Novi, CA — serves a heavily Indian-American clientele and of its 17 directors, a majority are Indian. Nonetheless, bank President Neal Searle and Executive Vice President Richard Bauer are charged with mistreating Indian customers and the emails — in which the two men referred to Indian-Americans as “chimps” and said “the only good Indian is a dead Indian” — are being considered as evidence by the plaintiffs.

But, on reading further and seeing their surnames of Takhar and Gupta, I may have to side with you.
KGB
 
Last edited: