Posters Beware: Public Information Can Be Harmful To Your Suit!

WRITTEN BY PAUL D. RHEINGOLD

The risks of posting information to the web on social sites and the like was the topic of a program for judges and lawyers Paul attended in February at the annual winter meeting of the Federal Bar Council in Hawaii.

Statements and videos which people had posted to the web came back to haunt them in many instances. For example, clients had posted information on Facebook or similar places which contradicted what they were saying in their lawsuits. One woman stated in a deposition she had never smoked, where as she had a YouTube upload showing her self smoking and drinking.

Cases were also covered where jury verdicts were set aside as jurors had been tweeting during the trial, after being forbidden to do so. Also jurors had gone on line to obtain data which they were not supposed to know, such as prior convictions of a defendant. Even a judge had been snared by social media. During a trial he made comments on a blog about the people before him, giving the appearance that he had pre-judged the case. What we learned from all this was, be careful of what you say! You may think you have some sort of shield of privacy, but it's a public world now.

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