Caselaw Precedent

2010 Cases

  • People v. Beckley

    185 Cal. App. 4th 509 (2010)

    In which the California Court of Appeals held that social media sources must be properly authenticated, stating that “[E]xpert testimony is even more critical today to prevent the admission of manipulated images … [W]ith the advent of computer software programs such as Adobe Photoshop, it does not always take skill, experience, or even cognizance to alter a digital.”

  • Victor Stanley, Inc. v. Creative Pipe, Inc.

    269 F.R.D. 497, 521 (D. Md. 34 2010)

    The court entered an order granting in part and denying in part plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against defendant for spoliation of electronically stored evidence. In so doing, the court held that, “The common law imposes the obligation to preserve evidence from the moment that litigation is reasonably anticipated.”

  • Bass v. Miss Porter’s School

    738 F.Supp.2d 307 (D. Conn. 2010)

    In which the court ordered voluminous production of approximately 750 pages of Plaintiff’s Facebook content to be produced. (In a case of this nature, the time spent taking screenshots and printing each of these pages would have been excessive and burdensome, whereas a social discovery evidence collection service like Webpreserver would alleviate this burden.)

  • Rene v. State of Texas

    49 So. 3d 248 (2010)

    The defendant in this case argued that the evidence obtained from a MySpace page that was purportedly his was not properly authenticated. He argued that there was no evidence that he had created or posted the pictures, that there was no evidence to prove the pictures hadn’t been altered, and that there was no evidence to prove the photos hadn’t been taken after the conviction. The court ruled against the defendant on the basis of other evidence submitted in the case, but agreed that the pictures would have had to meet a burden of proof to be relied upon.

  • State of Maine v. Gurney

    No. CR-2009-4017, (Me. 31 Super. Ct. July 12, 2010)

    In which the court entered an order denying motions to suppress evidence, including evidence contained on the defendant’s Facebook account.

  • Commonwealth v. Williams

    926 N.E.2d 1162, 1171-72 (Mass. 2010)

    The defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, partly due to evidence presented of MySpace messages allegedly sent by the defendant’s brother to one of the State’s witnesses, urging the witness not to testify against the defendant or to claim a lack of memory about the events that occurred on the night of the murder. Court found the testimony of recipient of Facebook messages insufficient for authentication, because the State’s only evidence for authentication was one witness’s testimony that the messages were sent by the defendant’s brother. The court noted that additional testimony regarding page security and accessibility was necessary to authenticate the messages.

  • Romano v. Steelcase

    30 Misc. 3d 426 (N.Y. 2010)

    A personal injury case in which the court granted the defendants access to the plaintiff’s “current and historical Facebook and MySpace pages and accounts, including all deleted pages and related information,” even though that information wasn’t available to the public. The court found that allowing the plaintiff to hide behind self-set privacy controls risked depriving the defendant of material that might be relevant to ensuring a fair trial.

  • McMillen v. Hummingbird Speedway, Inc.

    Pa. Dist. And Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 270 (2010)

    In this personal injury case, defendant Hummingbird Speedway, Inc. sought access to plaintiff’s social network accounts and requested production of his user names, log-in names, and passwords. Plaintiff objected, arguing that the information was confidential. Upon defendants’ Motion to Compel, the court found the requested information was not confidential or subject to the protection of any evidentiary privilege and ordered its production to defendants’ attorneys within 15 days and that plaintiff should not take steps to delete or alter the existing information on his social network accounts. Where a person’s social network sites may contain information relevant to the prosecution or defense of a lawsuit and in consideration of the law’s general disapproval of privileges, access to those sites should be freely granted.

  • E.E.OC. v. Simply Storage Management, LLC, et. al.

    270 F.R.D. 430 (S.D. Ind. 2010)

    In which the he EEOC, on behalf of two claimants, filed claims alleging sexual harassment. In the course of discovery, defendant sought production of claimants’ internet social networking site profiles and other communications from claimants’ Facebook and accounts. Following its discussion of the “General Principles Applicable to Discovery of SNS” and the proper scope of discovery in the present case, the court determined that certain content was relevant and ordered plaintiff to produce the relevant information, subject to the guidelines identified by the court, and ordered a voluminous amount of social discovery to be produced in the course of its assessment of the evidence.

  • Crispin v. Christian Audigier, Inc.

    717 F.Supp.2d 965 (2010)

    Defendant subpoenaed several social networking sites seeking disclosure of plaintiff’s subscriber information and communications relevant to the underlying dispute. Plaintiff sought to quash the subpoenas arguing that such disclosure would violate the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”). The magistrate judge denied plaintiff’s motion to quash upon finding the SCA was inapplicable. Plaintiff moved for reconsideration of the order. Granting reconsideration, the district court judge found the SCA was applicable to the social networking websites at issue (Facebook, MySpace, Media Temple) and quashed the subpoenas to the extent they sought private messages. However, the court recognized a distinction between strictly private messages and those posted more openly, such as on plaintiff’s Facebook wall or MySpace comments. Specifically, the court noted the inapplicability of the SCA to information that is readily available to the general public.

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