Online Reputation — Losing in Court Thanks to Facebook and Twitter

By February 28, 2012

Once again, repeat after us: Think before you post or tweet! It’s no secret that trial attorneys now mine social media sites for information.
Here’s a great article from local South Florida social media veteran, Craig Agranoff, otherwise known as @Lapp in today’s Huffington Post.
Read the full article here.
Today, everything we do online has potential consequences. The angry post you make on Facebook today, even if you delete it later, could mean losing a job or even in court tomorrow. In our increasingly connected world, the things we say can more easily come back to haunt us.
For example, in a recent case in Orange County, California, two neighbors were in a long-running dispute that had turned ugly. When one of them declared that it was out of character for him to use foul language and issue threats, the other’s attorney then showed the jury screen captures of the man’s Facebook wall that included derogatory comments towards his client and abusive, heavy language to go with it. The jury awarded the Facebook-scouring attorney’s client nearly half a million dollars.
Attorney John Mitchell Jackson says that it’s becoming standard procedure for trial attorneys to mine social media. He says it’s “the trial attorney’s obligation and duty to accumulate as much information as he or she can to support the client’s case or defend against it. Many trial lawyers today are learning as much as they can about the parties and the witnesses through social media sites. And what people need to understand is that this information doesn’t simply evaporate into thin air after it leaves your screen. It can be mined, analyzed and reviewed in civil and criminal cases.”
Jackson can cite several examples of cases where social media was a central point of the trial for both the good and ill of his clients. Although it might appear obvious that if you’re becoming involved in a suit, removing your social network profiles might be a good idea, Jackson actually advises against that.
Read the rest of the article here.