The Ethics of Social Media for the Family Lawyer: Investigation, Discovery, & Evidence (Johnson County Family Law American Inn of Court)(January 2014)


Judge Christina Dunn-Gyllenborg
Amanda Thilges
Reba Comstock-Fisher
Katie McFarland
Peter Simonsen
Shea Stevens
Ronald W. Nelson

Seminar Brochure


Powerpoint Presentation (Will be posted later)

A. Introduction – Reba Comstock-Fisher

A.1 Attorney Ethics Rules Implicated in Social Media Investigation, Discovery and Hearings

B. Initial Client Interview – Amanda Thilges

B.1. Electronic Media Advisory

C. Informal Investigation – Peter Simonsen

D. Formal Discovery – Katie McClaflin

E. Spoliation of Evidence and Social Media – Shea Stevens

F. Trial Evidence Ethics – Judge Christina Dunn-Gyllenborg and Ronald W. Nelson

G. Stored Communications Act/Electronic Communications Privacy Act – Reba Comstock-Fisher

Supplementary Materials:

01 Gallion v. Gallion, Clarification Order – Facebook Passwords Order

02 Florida Bar Advertising Advisory – LinkedIn Claims of Expertise

03 Electronic Communications Advisory (Ronald W. Nelson, PA)

04 Barnes v. CUS Nashville, LLC, US District Court, Middle District Tennessee – Discovery of Social Media

05 Largent v. Reed, Court Common Pleas, Franklin County, Pennsylvania – Discovery of Social Media Materials

06 McMillian v. Hummingbird Speedway, Court of Common Pleas, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania – Discovery of Social Media Materials

07 Offenback v. L.M. Bowman, Inc., US District Court, Middle District Pennsylvania – Discovery of Social Media Materials

08 Lester v Allied Concrete, 285 Va. 295, 736 S.E.2d 699 (2013) – Appeal of Sanctions for Spoliation (Virginia Supreme Court, January 10, 2013)

08A Lester v. Allied Concrete, Circuit Court Order – Spoliation findings

08B Lester v. Allied Concrete, Circuit Court Order – Spoliation sanctions

09 Gatto v. United Airlines, USDC New Jersey – Spoliation findings, sanctions

10 Sekisui American v. Hart, USDC SD New York – Duty to Preserve

11 Koplin v. Rosel Well Perforators, Inc., 241 Kan. 206, 734 P.2d 1177 (1987)

12. Superior Boiler Works v. Kimball, 292 Kan. 885 (2011) (Kansas Supreme Court, August 12, 2011)

13 Crispin v. Audiger, US District Court, Central District California – Discovery, Application of Stored Communications Act Protections

14 United States v. Merigildo, USDC, SD New York – Fourth Amendment, Using Friends

15 Tienda v. State of Texas, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals – Authentication of Social Media Evidence

16 San Diego County, California Bar Association Ethics Committee Opinion 2011-2 (2011) – “Friending” for Investigation

17 Philadelphia, PA Bar Association Ethics Committee Opinion 2009-02 (2009) – “Third-party Friending” for Investigation

18 New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics Opinion 843 (2010) – Lawyer Investigation of “Public” Social Media

19 New Hampshire Bar Association Ethics Committee Advisory Opinion 2012–13/05 (2012) – Social Media Contact with Witnesses in the Course of Litigation

20 Ethical Risks Arising from Lawyers’ use of (and refusal to use) Social Media (Delaware Bar Ass’n Review)

21 The Individual’s Right of Privacy in Marriage (Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers)

22 Stored Wire and Electronic Communications and Transactional Records Access, 18 USC Chapter 121

23 Interception and Disclosure of Wire, Oral, or Electronic Communications18 USC 2511

24 United States Department of Justice, Criminal Resource Manual, 18 U.S.C 2511 Prohibitions

25 Quagliarello v. Dewees, US District Court, Middle District Pennsylvania (August 4, 2012) – Probative Value vs. Prejudicial Effect

26 Lorraine v. Markel Insurance Company, 241 F.R.D. 534 (D.Md. May 4, 2007) – Admissibility of Digital Evidence