Authentication of Social Media Evidence [Guest Post]

This article was primarily authored by Scott Milligan, a law student at the Michigan State University College of Law and a 2013 summer associate at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP.  Because email and social media accounts can be created so easily, it is difficult to know who actually is responsible for the content of the […]

Common Law Invasion of Privacy Claims in Social Media [GUEST POST]

This article was principally authored by Adrean S. Taylor, a student at the University of Michigan Law School and a 2013 summer associate at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP. The overall issue for courts addressing common law privacy claims is to determine if and when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy for the online […]

Social Media in Child Custody Cases

When parents are fighting tooth-and-nail with each other–or with the state–for custody of their children, they leave no stone unturned. And like most other groups in society, parents and kids alike increasingly turn to social media to carry out their relationships and vent their frustrations. It’s not surprising, therefore, to see all the ugliness of […]

More Social Media Sackings

  Just a few more examples of how bad online behavior can get people fired: Dudley v. 4-McCar-T, Inc. (W.D. Va. May 4, 2011):  Dudley was an employee of the defendant’s McDonald’s franchise.  The court’s opinion describes him as “insolent,” insubordinate,” and a “brat,” among other things, so his termination was based on a lot […]

Social Media and Student Discipline in Public Schools

If there is a boundary, count on high school students to test it.  And with the advent of social media, now the entire world–not to mention their school administrators and the rest of their student body–can watch them do it.  Hundreds, probably thousands, of public middle and high school students have been disciplined for material […]

The Gangs of MySpace: Social Media Evidence in Gang Prosecutions

I talk a lot on this blog about the importance of companies having a social media policy for their employees.  Who knew that street gangs could use the same advice? “Symbols are an important part of the gang culture,” writes one expert.  “Signs and symbols are used to identify a particular gang or to intimidate […]

Authenticating Social Media Evidence (Or, “Boozy, His Boo, and What Not to Do”)

In prior posts, I’ve discussed the problem of proving identity online: how do you know that someone is who they say they are online? Anyone using social media asks that question (or ought to) every time they engage in an online conversation. It might be easy to answer that question if we’re messaging with a […]

Going Fishing on Facebook

The rules of discovery in U.S. courts are intentionally quite liberal. Generally speaking, parties can “discover” (that is, force the other side or a third party to disclose) any documents or information that are relevant to any claim or defense in the lawsuit. And it doesn’t have to be admissible in court to be “relevant”; […]