More lawyers are learning the hard way that courts will not grant social media discovery requests without first laying a foundation for access to the accounts and information being sought.
A trial court judge on New York’s Long Island recently granted two different motions to strike defense requests for social media and electronic discovery in a single personal injury case (read the decision below).
The decision reinforces the idea that Facebook “fishing expeditions” are likely to be denied. Lawyers who simply ask for social media and electronic data, will be wishing they had done their homework, because without showing how and why they should be granted access to it, their requests will almost certainly be denied.
A Brooklyn jury acquitted a man accused of gun possession charges after his criminal defense lawyers discovered a treasure trove of derogatory, racist digital evidence on a Facebook group created by NYPD officers.
According to the New York Times, police officers who did not want to work at New York City’s annual West Indian American Day Parade in Brooklyn created a Facebook group to share their displeasure, complete with vulgar, intolerant epithets directed at members of New York City’s Caribbean community celebrating the event.
Last week a New York trial judge denied a defense discovery request for a personal injury plaintiff’s current and historical Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter account information.
New York Justice George J. Silver of State Supreme Court in Manhattan reasoned that simply making conclusory allegations that a party’s “Facebook account is material and necessary to their [client’s] defense” is insufficient to justify disclosure of a litigant’s private Facebook records.
Then Justice Silver talked about a Facebook “fishing expedition”: