Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram

“They establish very strong relationships with opposing counsel and make a difficult transaction happen without bumps and bruises.”

Marty Saturn – Executive Vice President, Meisel Capital Partners

JUDGE ORDERS DISCOVERY OF SOCIAL MEDIA, TEXT MESSAGES AND EMAIL

The court in E.E.O.C. v. Original Honeybaked Ham Co. of Georgia, Inc. granted in part the defendant's motion to compel production and ordered the broad discovery of the plaintiff class members' social media, text message and email data. 

In this case, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a class of about 20 to 22 female employees sued defendant alleging sexual harassment, hostile work environment and retaliation.  In discovery, defendant requested production of "numerous categories of documents" related to the plaintiff class members' emotional and financial damage along with credibility and bias.  Included in its requests, defendant sought the contents of the plaintiffs' social media accouns and text messages.  In ruling, the court explained that many of the plaintiffs used "electronic media to communicate" about potentially relevant topics.

The court further reasoned that:  "If all of this information was contained on pages filed in the “Everything About Me” folder, it would need to be produced.  Should the outcome be different because it is on one's Facebook account?  There is a strong argument that storing such information on Facebook and making it accessible to others presents an even stronger case for production, at least as it concerns any privacy objection.  It was the claimants (or at least some of them) who, by their own volition, created relevant communications and shared them with others."

"The fact that it exists in cyberspace on an electronic device is a logistical and, perhaps, financial problem, but not a circumstance that removes the information from accessibility by a party opponent in litigation."

Accordingly, the court ordered the plaintiff class members to produce:
1. any mobile phone used to send and receive text messages during the preceding 3 years;
2. all access information and passwords to any social media sites used in the preceding  3 years; and
3. all access information and passwords to any email account or web blog used to communicate with others including posting pictures during the preceding 3 years.

Did You Know . . .

Members of the SLS trial group have tried in excess of 50 jury trials and 75 bench trials?

The SLS construction group has worked on sports stadiums across the country including Orioles Park in Baltimore and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati?

The SLS construction group has worked on power plant projects across the country?

In 2007 SLS was selected for an Honorable Mention as one of the Best Places To Work in Washington DC?

Ron Shapiro, Steve Schram and Judd Lifschitz have all been selected as SuperLawyers by Law and Politics?

The SLS office building is an historic townhouse constructed in the late 1800s?

SLS has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a Preeminent Law Firm?

SLS trial lawyers have argued appeals in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 5th, 9th, D.C. and Federal Circuit?

SLS trial lawyers have been lead trial counsel in cases in Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia, - to name just a few?

Virtually all the cases that SLS trial lawyers mediated have been favorably settled at mediation?

The transactional group at SLS was lead counsel on one of the largest, most complex mixed-use projects in downtown Washington, DC involving 4 lenders and 6 property owners?

In appreciation for the outstanding efforts of each of its employees during 2007, SLS gave everyone (attorneys, paralegals, and staff) a 4 day/3 night expense paid trip to Key West, Florida?

The transactional group at SLS has represented tenants in more than 200 retail leases in the Mid-Atlantic region?

Every attorney in the transactional group at SLS has at least 15 years experience?

The transactional group at SLS has represented developers in the purchase, construction, financing and/or sale of more than 75 multi-family apartment projects?

The transactional group at SLS has represented real estate investors and developers with respect to property in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan and the U.S. Virginia Islands?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented eight national banks in commercial real estate loans?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented the FDIC, the Resolution Trust Corporation and several banking institutions in loan workout transactions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region?

The transactional group at SLS has represented homebuilders and commercial real estate developers in work-outs of individual loans and also for work-outs of large portfolios involving dozens of properties in several states?

The trial lawyers of SLS have numerous reported decisions to their credit?