The impact of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) continues to grow in legal matters including litigation and trial. The court decisions cut across numerous areas from employment law and personal injury to privacy rights and defamation. Social media use has involved all the key players in lawsuits inclding judges, jurors, consultants, attorneys, reporters, and witnesses. Lawyers are using Facebook to screen jurors; jurors are using Facebook to post about the case they are sitting on; judges are checking Facebook to make sure jurors are not using it; jury consultants are following Twitter to give advice on trial strategy to attorneys during the trial; and reporters are giving first hand accounts of trials 140 characters at a time. Bottom line: Social media is everywhere and lawyers and litigants should pay attention.
In keeping up to date on the topic, here are some new resources and articles on social media and litigation and trial:
Vianei Lopez Robinson published an article for Texas Lawyer featured on Law Technology News that covers some recent decisions involving Facebook and the discovery of public and non-public information. The article also discusses some of the ethical implications for attorney’s "friending" litigation opponents.
Dan Schwartz’s Connecticut employment law blog continues to cover social media for employers. He recently posted a new update for employers on the newest social network site, Google +.
Corey Dennis, who previously submitted to this blog a great summary on the basics of Connecticut civil procedure, has just published a comprehensive law review article on social media and the various laws implicated by its use. Here is a link to his article for the Massachusetts Law Review.
Leita Walker and Joel Schroeder published a thorough review of social media "crashing into the courtroom" in an article posted by Law.com. The article describes several recent cases, juror misconduct with social media, attorney use of social media in discovery and cases ranging from employment to trademark matters.
A year or two ago it used to be relatively easy to track social media and the impacts on lawsuits and litigation. There were very few cases, and I posted about most of them. Now, there are new reports and articles, cases, and legal issues involving social media almost daily. Just today, a Google search of social media and trial brings up articles about the Roger Clemens perjury trial and the Casey Anthony murder trial.
The bottom line is social media is here to stay and has clearly "crashed into the courtroom." Attorneys, and especially trial lawyers and litigators, have to become familiar with all the legal implications as social media just might crash into one your cases.