883 F. Supp. 2d 523 (S.D.N.Y. 2012)
As part of a grand jury investigation in the Southern District of New York, the government sought a search warrant for the contents of Defendant’s Facebook account. The court found that probable cause existed to obtain the contents of the account and issued the warrant. Defendant challenged the validity of the Government’s method of collecting evidence to support that probable cause determination. Referencing Katz, 389 U.S. at 351-352, 88 S.Ct 507 (1967), the court decides that “when a social media user disseminates his postings and information to the public, they are not protected by the Fourth Amendment. However, postings using more secure privacy settings reflect the user’s intent to preserve information as private and may be constitutionally protected.” The state viewed the profile through the Facebook account of one of Defendant’s “friends” who was a witness. By that means, the Government learned that Defendant posted messages regarding prior acts of violence, threatened new violence to rival gang members, and sought to maintain the loyalties of other alleged members of Defendant’s gang. Access to the Facebook profile constituted the core of the Government’s evidence of probable cause supporting its application for the search warrant.
No. 3:12-cv-00127-PK (D. Or. 2012)
In which the court granted the employer’s motion to compel in part; finding that a company defending an employment discrimination lawsuit can seek discovery of social media activity taken by the plaintiff which could shed light on the extent of her emotional distress, stating that, “It is reasonable to expect severe emotional or mental injury to manifest itself in some [social media] content, and an examination of that content might reveal whether onset occurred, when, and the degree of distress.”
No. 2:09-cv-01375-PMP-VCF (D. Nev. 2012)
A personal injury case resulting from an auto accident, in which plaintiff’s Facebook and MySpace pages were relevant given the nature of plaintiff’s claims, “Because the alleged consequences of Plaintiff’s injuries include severe physical injuries, emotional distress, and impaired quality of life, evidence relating to Plaintiff’s physical capabilities and social activities is relevant to Plaintiff’s claims in this action.”