Social Media and Litigation Discovery
We recently read about a case in Oregon where a rape victim was compelled to produce her Facebook profile in the course of discovery in the criminal case of her alleged perpetrator. (The facts may not be exactly correct, so we are not including a citation)
The point, though, seems to be that, while social media has arguably revolutionized the way people communicate with each other, it is just another day at the office for attorneys and courts. In other words, hundreds of years ago, a stamp pressed onto wax constituted a person’s signature. Today, clicking a check-box online counts as a signature, and innumerable enforceable contracts have been created as such. In terms of discovering “documents” in the course of litigation, a Facebook profile is probably subject to the same fate.
In our practice, we are increasingly seeing discovery requests for information from Facebook and other social media sites. The simple lesson to learn here is that one should always be careful of what information and communication he or she puts on his or her Facebook profile, and that this concern becomes magnified the moment one enters litigation or is even contemplating litigation.
(This post is intended to be educational and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions or believe these issues affect you or your case, please contact an attorney.)