They Used To Just Hire A Private Detective
This really should not come as a shock to anyone, but defendants in lawsuits try pretty hard to find information to help them win the case. And, really no matter the stakes, that’s not too surprising. If the defense can find a personal injury plaintiff, who complains about debilitating pain, manning third base for his company softball team, it’s good news for them. If you want to see a funny take on it, check out the movie The Fortune Cookie (one of my top 5 lawyer movies). For a more sinister view, check out The Verdict (also one of my top 5 lawyer movies). But these days, plaintiffs are making it easy for defendants to gather up useful information – by putting it up on Facebook. Here’s a New York Times article that discusses how courts are increasingly allowing lawyers to use discovery to access even private Facebook and MySpace pages in civil litigation. The bad news for plaintiffs? There really isn’t much of a privacy claim there. If you file a lawsuit, you’re kind of putting your status in play. And while there are doctor patient, priest penitent and lawyer client privileges, there is no “friend” privilege as yet. So be careful what you put out there.