Pennsylvania Judge Provides Great Resource For Anyone Researching Social Media Discovery Issues

In Trail v. Lesko (opinion here), Allegheny County Judge Wettick provided a great resource for anyone researching social media discovery issues. Judge Wettick authored a 20-page opinion, running through nine Pennsylvania state court decisions addressing discovery of social media in litigation:

[The Pennsylvania] Courts of Common Pleas that have considered discovery requests for Facebook information appear to follow a consistent train of reasoning. The courts recognize the need for a threshold showing of relevance prior to discovery of any kind, and have nearly all required a party seeking discovery in these cases to articulate some facts that suggest relevant information may be contained within the non-public portions of the profile. To this end, the courts have relied on information contained in the publicly available portions of a user's profile to form a basis for further discovery.

The opinion also covered other jurisdictions, including Michigan, Nevada, Indiana, Kansas, and New York. The Judge noted that "[u]nlike our Common Pleas Court cases . . . other jurisdictions have wrestled to establish a middle ground between the wholesale denial of the request on the one hand and the granting of unlimited access to the user's profile on the other."

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