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

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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