"When Cleaning Up Facebook is Dirty Discovery"
by Laura Ewing-Pearle, CEDS*
Assistant Director - Client Services
In a recent spoliation sanction that created buzz all over the "blawgosphere", a Virginia attorney has agreed to a five-year suspension of his license for instructing his client to "clean up" his Facebook page. After he received a discovery request for his client's Facebook account, Matthew Murray advised his client, a widower plaintiff in a wrongful death suit, to delete photos and then to deactivate the account. According to The Hook, Murray wrote to the client: "Don't worry about sanctions... If we get sanctioned, after the trial, you'll have plenty of money to pay it." These statements were also read at trial - surely a cringe-worthy moment.
*Laura Ewing-Pearle earned the Certified E-Discovery Specialist (CEDS) designation in August 2013. The CEDS credential is awarded to individuals who demonstrate mastery of the topic of eDiscovery by passing a rigorous exam administered by the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), the premier membership organization for eDiscovery professionals worldwide.