Social media posts by plaintiffs and defendants have long been viewed by Certified Legal Nurse Consultants and their attorney-clients as rich, discoverable sources of evidence.
Once a lawsuit is filed, an attorney will usually advise the client to cease all social media activity. The attorney may also request to review the client’s social media accounts to assess for problematic postings. The attorney should not, however, advise the client to sanitize postings as deleted posts can always be retrieved and the very action of sanitizing may be considered spoliation of evidence.
The ease and frequency with which people post, tweet and pin their inner-most and most-immediate thoughts and private photos can lead to trouble. The content, related metadata (especially geotags), posting habits and even frequency of posts can discredit a party’s position and/or testimony.
Social media sites are recognizing that beyond sitting on a treasure trove of rich and valuable personal data, they are also sitting on a never-ending source of subpoenas for discovery requests. Rather than have to continue the costly and time-consuming process of responding to a plethora of discovery requests, social media sites have moved to make information from social media accounts easier and easier for the individual user to retrieve. An attorney requesting an opposing party’s social media will still have to prove that the requested content is relevant to the central issues in the case.
As a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant you have the fun of reviewing the contents for relevant postings, once your attorney-client has obtained them. Until that time, I recommend that you keep your own social media clean.
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