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Recent statistics gathered by the Fox News affiliate in Jacksonville, Florida, found that the number of reported legal cases in the sunshine state involving emojis or emoticons increased from 33 in 2017 to 53 in 2018 and 99 in 2019.
And courts are struggling to handle the nuances of emojis as evidence, according to a legal expert who spoke to Jax Action News. The expert said that "courts have not interpreted yet what that means, it’s a new system of communication.”
One case involves a face-kissing emoji in a sexual harassment suit against the city of Tampa, according to the news report.
In response to the rise in such lawsuits, the Florida Bar Association has published a best practices guide for attorneys that advises against using emojis, saying, “Exclamation points and other indications of excitement such as emojis, abbreviations such as LOL and all caps do not translate well in business communications. Leave them off unless you know the recipient extremely well.”