August 1, 2006 March 1, 2016
RULE 4.5 INADVERTENT TRANSMISSION
1 (a) A lawyer who receives a document or electronically stored information relating to the
2 representation of the lawyer's client and knows or reasonably should know the document or
3 electronically stored information was inadvertently sent shall promptly notify the sender.
4 (b) A lawyer who receives a document under the circumstances creating a duty under this
5 rule does not violate Rule 1.2 or Rule 1.4 by not communicating to or consulting with the
6 client regarding the receipt or the return of the document.
8  This Rule recognizes that lawyers sometimes receive
documents a document or
9 electronically stored information that
were was mistakenly sent or produced by opposing
10 parties or their lawyers, or by third parties. A document or electronically stored information
11 is inadvertently sent when it is accidentally transmitted, such as when an email or letter is
12 misaddressed or a document or electronically stored information is accidentally included with
13 information that was intentionally transmitted. If a lawyer knows or reasonably should know
14 that such a document or electronically stored information was sent inadvertently, then this
15 Rule requires the lawyer to promptly notify the sender in order to permit that person to take
16 protective measures. Whether the lawyer is required to take additional steps, such as
17 returning or deleting the
original document or electronically stored information, is a matter
18 of law beyond the scope of these Rules, as is the question of whether the privileged status
19 of a document or electronically stored information has been waived. Similarly, this Rule does
20 not address the legal duties of a lawyer who receives a document or electronically stored
21 information that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know may have been
22 inappropriately obtained by the sending person. For purposes of this rule, "document or
23 electronically stored information" includes, in addition to paper documents, e-mail
electronic modes of transportation and other forms of electronically stored information,
25 including embedded data (commonly referred to as "metadata"), that is subject to being read
26 or put into readable form. Metadata in electronic documents creates an obligation under this
27 Rule only if the receiving lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the metadata was
28 inadvertently sent to the receiving lawyer.
29  Some lawyers may choose to return a document or delete electronically stored
30 information unread, for example, when the lawyer learns before receiving
the document it
31 that it was inadvertently sent
to the wrong address. Where a lawyer is not required by
32 applicable law to do so, the decision to voluntarily return such a document or delete
33 electronically stored information is a matter of professional judgment ordinarily reserved to
34 the lawyer. See Rules 1.2 and 1.4.
35 Rule 4.5 adopted effective 08/01/06, amended effective 03/01/16.
36 Reference: Minutes of the Joint Committee on Attorney Standards on 08/06/04, 09/24/04,
37 06/14/05, 09/13/13, 12/13/13, 06/10/14.