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Hank Chinaski, Mmmm, Burger (C.J.)
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:34 PM   #1
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I just received a Summons (Citacioin Judicial) where the plaintiff's attorney copied their signature. What I mean is that is clear that the attorney did not sign these forms. These forms were probably filled out on a computer and it is obvious that the signatures of the lawyer were in some jpeg form or other form in the computer and then placed on the form, prior to the form being printed out. It is obvious because there are tiny dots around the signatures on the document showing they were taken from some other document, copied electronically, and then this same signature was place in every place the lawyer was supposed to sign. Each signature on the filing is this exact same jpeg or whatever it is.

In other words, this filing was not signed by the lawyer. At least not physically. Is there some way I can use the fact that these signatures (actually one signature) was copied on this document prior to printing and that it wasn't physically signed by the lawyer, to my advantage? Or is this sort of thing accepted now or at least tolerated by the courts now.

I have not done litigation in a while but it would seem to me since anyone could have placed the electronic signature on these documents that this is some sort of fraud. How can you know the lawyer actually signed it?
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:40 PM   #2
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Copied signature

Quote:
Originally posted by Spanky
I just received a Summons (Citacioin Judicial) where the plaintiff's attorney copied their signature. What I mean is that is clear that the attorney did not sign these forms. These forms were probably filled out on a computer and it is obvious that the signatures of the lawyer were in some jpeg form or other form in the computer and then placed on the form, prior to the form being printed out. It is obvious because there are tiny dots around the signatures on the document showing they were taken from some other document, copied electronically, and then this same signature was place in every place the lawyer was supposed to sign. Each signature on the filing is this exact same jpeg or whatever it is.

In other words, this filing was not signed by the lawyer. At least not physically. Is there some way I can use the fact that these signatures (actually one signature) was copied on this document prior to printing and that it wasn't physically signed by the lawyer, to my advantage? Or is this sort of thing accepted now or at least tolerated by the courts now.

I have not done litigation in a while but it would seem to me since anyone could have placed the electronic signature on these documents that this is some sort of fraud. How can you know the lawyer actually signed it?
dust for fingerprints then move to compel the lawyer and secretary to both provide fingerprint samples?
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:46 PM   #3
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I think you have them by the balls on this one. Clearly not proper.

I note that it's the same thing with the dollar bills - not an original signature! Which is why I only accept gold, ammunition and canned goods in all of my transactions.

P.S. - you don't have to pay taxes either.
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Old 07-07-2008, 01:14 PM   #4
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Originally posted by ironweed
I think you have them by the balls on this one. Clearly not proper.

I note that it's the same thing with the dollar bills - not an original signature! Which is why I only accept gold, ammunition and canned goods in all of my transactions.

P.S. - you don't have to pay taxes either.
can the spanky board start agian? with paigow gone i bet we can all behave properly.
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Old 07-07-2008, 02:43 PM   #5
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Originally posted by ironweed
I think you have them by the balls on this one. Clearly not proper.

I note that it's the same thing with the dollar bills - not an original signature! Which is why I only accept gold, ammunition and canned goods in all of my transactions.

P.S. - you don't have to pay taxes either.
I know it seems nitpicky and trivial, but on the other hand signatures are considered pretty important. Clearly if they were forged it would be a big deal.

These documents are not signed but the firm is claiming they are. And they are official documets submitted to the court. I believe such a signature on a contract would make it invalid.

I don't know. This lawyer is real jerk. He is one of those guys that tries to intimidate you with threats over the phone and uses ridiculous legal arguments and expects you to be scared by them. For most lawyers I wouldn't care, but this guy is such a jerk it would be nice to throw it back at him. Maybe the bar would frown on such activity - I don't know.
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Old 07-07-2008, 02:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spanky

These documents are not signed but the firm is claiming they are. And they are official documets submitted to the court. I believe such a signature on a contract would make it invalid.
Why not ask him to confirm in writing with an actual signature that all digital signatures in the document are valid and have not been forged?

You can start your research here , which suggests generally it's okay with limitations (consult your lawyer)
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mmmm, Burger (C.J.)
Why not ask him to confirm in writing with an actual signature that all digital signatures in the document are valid and have not been forged?

You can start your research here , which suggests generally it's okay with limitations (consult your lawyer)
I envy someone who lives in a world where E-Sign is a revelation.
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spanky
I know it seems nitpicky and trivial, but on the other hand signatures are considered pretty important. Clearly if they were forged it would be a big deal.

These documents are not signed but the firm is claiming they are. And they are official documets submitted to the court. I believe such a signature on a contract would make it invalid.

I don't know. This lawyer is real jerk. He is one of those guys that tries to intimidate you with threats over the phone and uses ridiculous legal arguments and expects you to be scared by them. For most lawyers I wouldn't care, but this guy is such a jerk it would be nice to throw it back at him. Maybe the bar would frown on such activity - I don't know.
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Old 07-09-2008, 04:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mmmm, Burger (C.J.)
Why not ask him to confirm in writing with an actual signature that all digital signatures in the document are valid and have not been forged?

You can start your research here , which suggests generally it's okay with limitations (consult your lawyer)
I realize the definition of an e signature is vague. But I don't think these signatures qualify as E - signatures. An E-signature seems to imply that the person intended to sign the document using an electronic method. Like using an electronic pen, or clicking on some button where they are asked if they intend to sign the document.

The signatures I am referring to are not really that. It is similar to if somone took a document signed by someone, xeroxed it, cut out that signature and then glued the cut out signature onto the pleading document and then filed it.

That is what we have here except it was done electronically. This signature was copied from another document, put in a jpeg (or something similar) form and then pasted on this pleading. You can tell this not only because the signatures are an exact match, but there are little dots behind the signatures that create a perfect rectangle around the signature showing that it was copied from another document.

There is absolutely no evidence that the person whose signature is on the document ever saw the document. Any person with a document with this persons signature on it could have done this. They could have just scanned it in, copied it and pasted it. I think the clear intention of the courts was that these forms be filled out on the computer, then printed and then signed. Not have a signature copied from another document and then that sigature be pasted onto the document and then printing out the document.

The original document was not signed.
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Old 07-09-2008, 05:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spanky
I realize the definition of an e signature is vague. But I don't think these signatures qualify as E - signatures. An E-signature seems to imply that the person intended to sign the document using an electronic method. Like using an electronic pen, or clicking on some button where they are asked if they intend to sign the document.

The signatures I am referring to are not really that. It is similar to if somone took a document signed by someone, xeroxed it, cut out that signature and then glued the cut out signature onto the pleading document and then filed it.

That is what we have here except it was done electronically. This signature was copied from another document, put in a jpeg (or something similar) form and then pasted on this pleading. You can tell this not only because the signatures are an exact match, but there are little dots behind the signatures that create a perfect rectangle around the signature showing that it was copied from another document.

There is absolutely no evidence that the person whose signature is on the document ever saw the document. Any person with a document with this persons signature on it could have done this. They could have just scanned it in, copied it and pasted it. I think the clear intention of the courts was that these forms be filled out on the computer, then printed and then signed. Not have a signature copied from another document and then that sigature be pasted onto the document and then printing out the document.

The original document was not signed.
I have no idea what the law on the issue is, but I do know I could sign something, have it scanned in, and then tell my secretary to insert that JPEG into a document that I had reviewed and intended to sign.

As I said, if you have doubts as to authenticity, ask him to authenticate. It seems to me like you're trying to wait on the issue and then use the "surprise" tactic to claim it's invalid after it's too late to correct. If I were him I would respond that you failed to alert him to any of your concerns for at least 3 days, so the issue should be deemed waived or allowed to be corrected at the time.
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Old 07-09-2008, 05:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spanky
I realize the definition of an e signature is vague. But I don't think these signatures qualify as E - signatures. An E-signature seems to imply that the person intended to sign the document using an electronic method. Like using an electronic pen, or clicking on some button where they are asked if they intend to sign the document.

The signatures I am referring to are not really that. It is similar to if somone took a document signed by someone, xeroxed it, cut out that signature and then glued the cut out signature onto the pleading document and then filed it.

That is what we have here except it was done electronically. This signature was copied from another document, put in a jpeg (or something similar) form and then pasted on this pleading. You can tell this not only because the signatures are an exact match, but there are little dots behind the signatures that create a perfect rectangle around the signature showing that it was copied from another document.

There is absolutely no evidence that the person whose signature is on the document ever saw the document. Any person with a document with this persons signature on it could have done this. They could have just scanned it in, copied it and pasted it. I think the clear intention of the courts was that these forms be filled out on the computer, then printed and then signed. Not have a signature copied from another document and then that sigature be pasted onto the document and then printing out the document.

The original document was not signed.
When facing an essentially legal question, I sometimes like to consult the law. In this case, Cal. Gov't Code Sections 16 and 16.5.

Doing so shows that a JPEG likely doesn't qualify as a digital signature.

But does Spanky want to pay his attorney to file a motion for relief from default? That seems like starting off the litigation from a position of weakness, and I advise against that.
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Old 07-09-2008, 05:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hank Chinaski
can the spanky board start agian? with paigow gone i bet we can all behave properly.
2!
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Atticus Grinch
When facing an essentially legal question, I sometimes like to consult the law. In this case, Cal. Gov't Code Sections 16 and 16.5.

Doing so shows that a JPEG likely doesn't qualify as a digital signature.

But does Spanky want to pay his attorney to file a motion for relief from default? That seems like starting off the litigation from a position of weakness, and I advise against that.
Thanks for the info:

It is clear from section 16.5 that this signature doesn't qualify as a digital signature under California law. There are five requirements, all of which have to met, and the jpeg does not seem to pass any of the requirements.

The use of a digital signature shall have the same force
and effect as the use of a manual signature if and only if it
embodies all of the following attributes:
(1) It is unique to the person using it.
(2) It is capable of verification.
(3) It is under the sole control of the person using it.
(4) It is linked to data in such a manner that if the data are
changed, the digital signature is invalidated.
(5) It conforms to regulations adopted by the Secretary of State.

I talk to a retired judge today and he told me to contact the state bar. So that is what I am going to do.

But it is clear, under the law, the pleading was not signed by an attorney.

And I am not paying an attorney to do anything, I do have a license to practice in California and I intend to use it.
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:05 PM   #14
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Originally posted by Spanky
I talk to a retired judge today and he told me to contact the state bar. So that is what I am going to do.
Seriously? If you do this, you forever surrender your right to complain about the size of government in general, and the amount of bar dues in particular.
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spanky
Thanks for the info:

It is clear from section 16.5 that this signature doesn't qualify as a digital signature under California law. There are five requirements, all of which have to met, and the jpeg does not seem to pass any of the requirements.

The use of a digital signature shall have the same force
and effect as the use of a manual signature if and only if it
embodies all of the following attributes:
(1) It is unique to the person using it.
(2) It is capable of verification.
(3) It is under the sole control of the person using it.
(4) It is linked to data in such a manner that if the data are
changed, the digital signature is invalidated.
(5) It conforms to regulations adopted by the Secretary of State.

I talk to a retired judge today and he told me to contact the state bar. So that is what I am going to do.

But it is clear, under the law, the pleading was not signed by an attorney.

And I am not paying an attorney to do anything, I do have a license to practice in California and I intend to use it.
Not my area, but does it have to qualify as a digital signature? If the attorney authorized it to be "signed" in this way, what is your beef? How is it different from having his secretary sign his name for him (which happens all the time)? What good does contacting the state bar do? How are they going to affect your case one way or the other?

The thing at always frustrates me when I am involved in "actual" litigation (most of what I do is quasi-litigation sort of stuff that doesn't involve a court or arbitral panel), is the petty bullshit people pull of things that shouldn't be controversial. As if it is all one big game of gotcha, and they can make up for the complete failute to produce any emails as long as they show that you refused to respond (after objecting) to the same interrogatories that you sent them.
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