Monday, May 21, 2012

Social Networking and Litigation - A Dangerous Combo

As a trial lawyer specializing in internet and social media litigation, I have witnessed the destructive power of social networking to a claim or defense.  Litigants should steer clear of social networking except for marketing or CRM purposes.  Nothing can sink a case faster than a damaging admission fresh from a Facebook profile or Twitter feed.

Insurance companies and other sophisticated litigants frequently employ investigators and crawling technologies to access social networking pages and profiles.  Some may even use pre-texting techniques to access information that is privacy protected.  Such techniques may include friending or following an opposing party.  These pre-texting techniques may violate state bar ethical rules but, some courts have allowed this evidence to be introduced at trial or on summary judgment.  We have seen this type of evidence pop up frequently in trade secrets cases and other business torts such as interference with contractual relations.

There are a few best practices for litigants to follow with regard to social media behavior.  First, do not friend or follow any unknown individuals or entities.  Second, make sure privacy settings are set up to limit access by the general public.  Finally, never comment on any aspect of your lawsuit in any social media setting.  

No comments: