Social Media as Evidence: Cases, Practice Pointers, and Techniques,by Joshua Briones, Ana Tagvoryan,
Law Practice Division, ABA, March 2013
KF 8947.5 .B75 2013 New Books Cart
The ABA in its advertisement says that the “smoking gun tweet” has replaced the “smoking gun” in evidentiary matters. They further claim, mixing their metaphors, that social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other social media channels, are “gold mines” of discovery for discrediting witnesses and weakening a company’s litigation position. Despite the mixed metaphors, which really only bothers a small group of us English majors, the ABA is right and this handy little
book (only 109 pages) packs a lot of valuable information. The use of the internet, and social media specifically, is exploding and with it valuable information.
The authors include specific sources for gold mining and uses of those nuggets. Linkedin with its resumes is a good place to catch a witness in a contradictory statement. Linkedin connections provide contacts who might supply you with more insight into your opponents, their witnesses and experts. Social media channels are good sources for researching potential jury members and for monitoring them during trial. The major social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, are explored for their potential value. In the next step, you will need to assay those nuggets. You must authenticate the data you have obtained from social media and this book will explain how.
The ethical rules and procedures for use and preservation of such evidence are important. Failure to comply can result in serious sanctions. For instance, compliance with litigation holds must include social media data. As for ethics, do you know if you can “friend” a represented adverse party, a judge? These and other other ethical situations are explored.
The book is full of great practice pointers and sample forms to help you draft documents such as litigation hold memos, document preservation notices, and sample interrogatories and document requests.
This is an excellent starting point for learning about the advantages and pitfalls of using social media in litigation.