Law & Technology: The Facebook Factor

Call it the “Facebook Factor”.  The way people use the internet and social media is colliding with litigation in ways that couldn’t have been foreseen even a few years ago:

  • In a recent Nova Scotia case, a judge considered evidence of a plaintiff’s Facebook page in a personal injury lawsuit, and the evidence contradicted the plaintiff’s claim;
  • In Murphy v Perger [2007] OJ No. 5511 (QL), a defence lawyer successfully forced production of post-accident Facebook pictures showing the plaintiff engaging in various social activities – pictures that were located on a private portion of the Facebook site;
  • In Leduc v. Roman, 2009 CanLII 6838 (ON S.C.), the court permitted cross-examination of the plaintiff on the content he posted on his Facebook profile;
  • In Australia and New Zealand, the courts have approved service of documents via a Facebook account (story: here and here);
  • In the US, there have been a rash of similar cases (see links herehere, and here) leading to a mistrial in a drug-trafficking case (when jurors admitted that they researched the case via their iPhones and BlackBerrys), chaos in the federal corruption trial of a former state senator (jurors had posted updates on the case on Twitter and Facebook), and problems in a criminal case (a juror tried to “Friend” one of the witnesses).

Related content: free online webcast summit on “Copyright War,” June 9, 2009, including “Online Legal Issues: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs” 

Calgary – 10:30 MST

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