Recently, a Florida appellate court held that a former headmaster was not entitled to an $80,000 payment pursuant to a settlement agreement with his former employer, all thanks to his chats with his daughter about the settlement, and her subsequent Facebook post bragging about the settlement.
I was struck reading a recent ABA article that a Federal Judge, U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis, advised that lawyers are ”no longer going to be able to conduct litigation of any complexity without understanding e-discovery.”
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently held a meeting to gather information about the growing use of social media and how it impacts the laws the EEOC enforces.
As a discovery referee in family law matters, I often come upon issues where opposing counsel does not think the Discovery Act applies to their proceeding. They argue that it is not necessary to make a diligent search and a reasonable inquiry when producing documents because everything is informally provided or that they don’t need to respond to the interrogatories because opposing counsel has all the information he needs because they talked about it on the phone three weeks ago.
Courts across the United States have now made clear that discovery of social media is fair game. At the same time, courts have consistently found that litigants will not be permitted to engage in social media fishing expeditions; rather, litigants will be required to show that the sites likely contain relevant material.