Spoliation of Social Media Evidence

CLE Hours: 1.5

CLE Credit: Substantive

Course Level: Basic

In the last 20 years, social media has significantly increased the availability of personal information online. How does potential social media evidence affect the litigation process? How should litigators advise their clients to manage their social media accounts when litigation is anticipated or pending? What are the potential consequences if a client deletes social media posts or an entire account?

At some point most litigators will be confronted with issues involving the destruction of social media evidence (spoliation). This session will discuss ways to prevent or resolve problems associated with spoliation. We will review case law addressing spoliation and discuss potential tort liability, sanctions, and negative rulings. We will also address the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules of Professional Conduct that govern the way litigators manage and preserve evidence. We will cover the impact of negative publicity associated with spoliation and the impact on the professional and personal reputation of the counsel and parties involved. Finally, we will review discovery methods for obtaining social media evidence.

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