With 282.1 million active internet users in the United States, we can safely bet that electronic discovery is here to stay. Now more than ever, it is imperative that attorneys are aware of electronic discovery in order to effectively advocate for their clients. Specifically, attorneys should have an understanding of when electronically stored information is and is not discoverable and how it's preserved, collected, and produced.
What is E-Discovery?
Electronic Discovery is the "process of identifying, preserving, collecting, searching, reviewing, and producing electronically stored information that may be relevant to a civil, criminal, or regulatory matter. Maura R. Grossman and Gordon V. Cormack, The Grossman-Cormack Glossary of Technology-Assisted Review, Vol. 7 Federal Courts Law Review 2013 1, 15 (2013). It is used in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34(a)(1)(A) to refer to discoverable information “stored in any medium from which the information can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable form.”
How does it relate to Social Media?
In a country with 282.1 million active internet users, one this is for certain: electronic discovery is here to stay. Attorneys must be informed about electronic discovery, its implications, how to obtain it, and its limitations. With 192 million active social media users, attorneys need to be aware of the effects that social media can have on their case. This isn't limited to their clients, but also their family members, friends, and associates. For example, if a bar owner has been accused of selling alcohol to an intoxicated individual and they were in a drunk driving accident, an attorney will want to know if the bartender serving that night has "I sell booze to drunks" listed as his profession on social media. Alternatively, he might have posted about the event on social media. This kind of information can make the different between settling a case at an early stage, or taking the case to court. I hope this pathfinder will serve as a good starting point for information about the discovery of social media content.
Victor Bermudez is a rising second-year student at Ave Maria School of Law. He is interested in practicing as a civil litigator after graduating from law school. He enjoys oral advocacy and the challenge of solving complex legal issues. He is a member of the moot court board, vice president of the law school Student Bar Association, a governor of the law student division of the Florida Bar Association, and a Student Ambassador. He spent his 1L summer as an intern at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Before law school, Victor was the Director of Public Outreach for a non-profit, religious liberty law firm in Southern California called Advocates for Faith and Freedom. He graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville. While an undergraduate student, Victor lead three student trips to the United Nations to speak with global leaders about various global issues . Also while in college, he traveled extensively in thirteen countries and over thirty states in America. He enjoys watching football, traveling, cooking, and spending time with family.