Articles Posted in Trials and Juries

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Many times — most recently last Friday — I’ve discussed instances in which the 24/7 world of social media has cost individuals their jobs.

But, here’s a little twist. Earlier this month, a Pennsylvania federal court ruled here that a plaintiff’s Facebook page called “Yo know yo ass is from the da hood,” could be used by a defendant-employer to impeach an African-American employee’s claims of race discrimination and retaliation at work.

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You see, in certain instances, a trial witness’s social media breadcrumbs may undermine her credibility and score points for your client. But when the witness — and the lawyer trying to impeach the witness with her social networking activities — display as much combined tech savvy as J-Lo’s PR machine, hilarity trouble may ensue:

(h/t @PhilipMiles)

Social media dataflowsGot a jury trial coming up? Concerned about jurors using social media to discuss the case or conduct independent research during trial? As you may recall from this blog post, if you are counting on the court to independently instruct jurors not to get their Twitter on, well, don’t hold your breath.

Instead, consider including this new two-page model jury instruction addressing juror use of social media during trial. You’ll note that jurors are instructed twice about social-media use. According to this official press release, the new rules emphasize that a single instruction to refrain from using social media to discuss/research the trial is not enough:

The judges recommended that jurors frequently be reminded about the prohibition on social media before the trial, at the close of a case, at the end of each day before jurors return home, and other times, as appropriate. Jurors should be told why refraining from use of social media promotes a fair trial. Finally, jurors should know the consequences of violations during trial, such as mistrial and wasted time. Those recommendations are now part of the guidelines.

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Remember when I told you that a prevailing defendant could recover all electronic discovery costs? I lied.

Oh, let off some steam and stick around. Allow me to explain. Actually, I’ll let Phil Miles at Lawffice Space explain:

Last Friday, the Third Circuit released a definitive opinion regarding taxation of e-discovery costs against losing litigants…Judge Vanaskie (who I’ll note is pretty hip to technology issues) largely vacated an order awarding $360,000 in e-discovery costs to the defendant, slashing it by more than 90%.

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A state court judge in Pennsylvania has come up with a new way to afford litigants access to social media as part of discovery in a pending civil action. Daniel Cummins at Tort Talk has the details:

The Judge’s page long Order does not provide the background on the case leading up to this Motion and Order, or why such discovery was pursued by the Plaintiff.


While the Court did grant the Plaintiff access to the Defendant’s Facebook page and ordered the Defendant not to delete any info from the Facebook profile, the Defendant was granted permission to change his login name and password after seven (7) days following his compliance with the Court’s Order.

Thumbnail image for englishwig.gifSome folks — not you and me, but some folks — can watch porn at work and not get in trouble; they work in the porn industry.

When you’re an employee of the courts — a courtroom clerk, to be precise — it’s frowned upon. 

Oh, you’ll never guess what happens next. Well, maybe you can. See how right you are after the jump. Fair warning, however, this is one my less tasteful posts. And that’s saying something…

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Like you could do better…

If When “Facebookutioner” catches on, you read it here first.

But seriously folks, let’s talk about what judges are doing about jury use of social media during trial…

According to this survey, in which 508 federal judges completed questionnaires, only 30 respondents (5.9%) are aware of instances in which jurors have used social media during trial or deliberation.

  • What is the social network of choice among jurors?
  • What are jurors doing online during trial?
  • And what are judges doing to stop it?

Find out after the jump…

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deweytruman.jpgCourts have blessed written agreements between employer and employee to submit federal discrimination claims to arbitration. Here is an example. 

But, there’s legal and then there’s doing right. After the jump, how one employer got it wrong. Very wrong. Plus, what you can do to make sure that your business does not make the same mistake…

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