Legal Implications of Social Media Orange County Bar Association March 28, 2013

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Transcript Legal Implications of Social Media Orange County Bar Association March 28, 2013

Legal Implications of Social Media
Orange County Bar Association
March 28, 2013
Samir Ghia
@EthanWall | #SocialMediaLaw
Social Media Affects Actual Cases
Smoking Gun Facebook Wall Posts & Profile Pictures
Privacy Settings and the Right to Privacy
Impact of Third Party Social Media Content
@EthanWall | #SocialMediaLaw
Mom Hires Hit Man on Facebook
London Eley posted on her
Facebook wall:
I will pay somebody a stack
to kill my baby father
Timothy Bynum responded:
say nomore wat he look like
nd where he be at
@EthanWall | #SocialMediaLaw
McMillen v. Hummingbird Speedway (Pa. 2010)
Plaintiff seriously injured after he was
rear-ended following a stock car race
Plaintiff Claimed:
Permanent impairment, loss of general
health, loss of enjoyment of life
Defendant served requests for Plaintiff’s
Social Media Login Credentials
Plaintiff objected on the grounds of confidentiality and privilege
@EthanWall | #SocialMediaLaw
McMillen v. Hummingbird Speedway (Pa. 2010)
Public portion of Plaintiff’s Facebook
revealed comments about his fishing trip
and attendance at a later stock car race
Defendants successfully moved to compel
Plaintiff to Turn Over Login Information
as Facebook evidence was relevant to
sufficiency of damages claims
Litigants should utilize “all rational means for ascertaining the truth”
@EthanWall | #SocialMediaLaw
Barnes v. Coyote Ugly
@EthanWall | #SocialMediaLaw
@EthanWall | #SocialMediaLaw
Barnes v. Coyote Ugly
@EthanWall | #SocialMediaLaw
Barnes v. Coyote Ugly
Plaintiff sued for injuries after
falling and striking her head at the
Defendant served plaintiff’s
Facebook “friends” with a
subpoena to obtain social media
activity near the time of the
@EthanWall | #SocialMediaLaw
@EthanWall | #SocialMediaLaw
Romano v. Steelcase, Inc. (NY 2010)
Plaintiff Sued for Personal Injuries
Plaintiff claimed: Loss of enjoyment of
life and could no longer leave her house
But what did her Facebook
profile picture reveal….
A Photograph of Plaintiff Smiling
Outside Her House
Objected to Facebook discovery based on her 4th amendment “right to privacy”
@EthanWall | #SocialMediaLaw
Romano v. Steelcase, Inc. (NY 2010)
Court Analyzed Her Expectation of Privacy:
1. Did Plaintiff Have Subjective (personal) Expectation of Privacy?
2. Did Plaintiff Have a Reasonable (society) Expectation of Privacy?
When plaintiff created her Facebook and MySpace accounts, she
consented to the fact that her personal information would be shared
with others, notwithstanding her privacy settings. Indeed, that is the
very nature and purpose of these social networking sites, else they
would cease to exist. Since plaintiff knew that her information may
become publicly available, she cannot now claim that she had a
reasonable expectation of privacy.
@EthanWall | #SocialMediaLaw
Anything You Say on Social Media…
Lipton charged in a drunk
driving accident with serious
Attended a party two weeks
Unremorseful & Depraved
Received Maximum Sentence
Ethan Wall, Esq.
Social Media Law & Order
Ethan Wall concentrates in internet, intellectual property, and social
media law at Richman Greer, P.A. in Miami.
Recognized by Chambers as an “Associate to Watch,” a “Florida Rising
Star” by Florida Super Lawyers’ Magazine, and as one of Florida’s “Top
Up & Comers” by Florida Trend Magazine, Ethan frequently presents
and publishes articles on the effect of social networking and the internet
on the law.
Ethan co-authored the Social Media Guide for Lawyers, a practical guide
on how lawyers and law firms can use social media to effectively,
ethically, and responsibly use social media to promote their practice. The
Guide can be downloaded at
Ethan also authors the Social Media Law and Order blog about the effect
of social media on the law at