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What is the impact of social media on my lawsuit?

On behalf of Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP | Oct 2, 2017 |


Social media has the ability to significantly affect litigation and may sometimes provide key evidence in cases. Typically, social media may be used as evidence in personal injury, criminal and divorce matters, but it can be used in any type of case. As a result, it is important to be careful about what you post on social media accounts, including those on Facebook and Twitter.

If you post something on social media, it can be subject to eDiscovery as soon as you reasonably foresee that the evidence may be relevant to a part of litigation. For example, if you post something on Facebook that is detrimental to your case, you cannot simply delete it before you file a lawsuit or find out that a complaint is about to filed against you; rather, it must be preserved first. Similarly, your attorney should send out litigation hold notices as soon as possible to all parties if you are pursuing legal action.

If you fail to preserve relevant evidence, you may be subject to sanctions for spoliation of evidence. Even if the deleted evidence is later recovered by forensic experts, you may still be subject to monetary or evidentiary sanctions for the destruction of evidence.

Social media may even affect your case beyond what you post on purpose. For example, many social media applications, like Facebook and Foursquare, have tracking functions. This metadata and location information can reveal your location and/or activities, which may be used against you.

You can even harm your case by snooping on social media. For example, if you are proceeding to trial, it may be tempting to peruse the social media profiles of jurors. However, doing so may result in a mistrial if there is contact even inadvertently. To wit, LinkedIn profiles often send automatic notifications when people have viewed your profile.

These are just a few examples of how social media can impact your case. If you are considering pursuing a legal matter that may be affected by social media, please contact an experienced attorney at Cohn Lifland today for a consultation.