Attorney Scott Cooper points us to a decision that bucks what seems to be an emerging trend in requiring people to turn over their social media logins to opposing parties in litigation:
Last week, the Court of Common Pleas in Franklin County, Pennsylvania in Arcq v. Fields et al, No. 2008-2430 (Herman J. Franklin Co. Dec. 7, 2011) addressed the issue regarding the discoverability of a Plaintiff’s social network profile and information. After filing a lawsuit as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident, the Plaintiff objected to interrogatories seeking social network information by arguing that the materials are not relevant and the Plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy to such information. The Defendants argued that under other trial court cases, and one from the same court, the information is discoverable.
The trial court finds that there is one glaring difference the present case has from the others, and that is that the request of the Defendants in Arcq is not the result of viewing the public portion of the Plaintiff’s profile.
Read more on InjuryBoard.com.
Scott kindly sent me the opinion, and I was encouraged to see a court deny what appears to me to to have been a fishing expedition. The defendant’s counsel offered no evidence that the plaintiff even had any social media account on any platform. As the court indicated, all the defendant offered was a “belief” that the plaintiff had a MySpace account and a “belief” that the plaintiff might have other accounts on Facebook, etc. A Google search that I conducted turned up no evidence of any James Arcq or Jim Arcq on MySpace, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Maybe that explains the unsupported “belief.”
In any event, I am pleased to see a court distinguish between discovery requests based on public profiles that suggest that there’s more to be uncovered that could be relevant and fishing expeditions that might needlessly intrude on privacy.