NJ

New Jersey Passes Social Media Privacy Bill

Everyone enjoys their privacy, even legislators! Privacy bills are becoming ubiquitous in state legislatures across the country. With the increased use of social media in and around the workplace, states are legislating to protect the dueling interests of employers and employees. Ten states, including New Jersey, passed laws that restrict employers from accessing the social media accounts of employees.

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When deactivating your Facebook account becomes the intentional destruction of evidence

Deactivating your Facebook account and passively allowing it to be permanently deleted can be considered the intentional destruction of evidence.  The Plaintiff in Gatto is now facing a potentially damaging adverse jury instruction if he takes his case to trial.  In Gatto, a ground operations supervisor at JFK Airport was injured in his course of employment when one of the United Airline’s planes bumped into a set of fueler stairs, causing them to run into the plaintiff.  In his suit, Plaintiff alleges that due to the crash he has suffered various serious injuries, is permanently disabled, hasn’t been able to work since July of 2008, and his physical and social activities have been limited.  Defendants sought access to Plantiff’s Facebook account in relation to these claims.

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Court’s Broad Definition of “Control” Requires That Litigation Hold Include Independent Agents

For discovery purposes, “control” over documents does not necessarily require actual physical possession.  In fact, certain agency contracts can designate that a company has “control” over documents held by its independent agents.  In Haskins v. First American Title Insurance Company, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey held that First American Title Insurance (defendant) had to assert a litigation hold on its present and former independent title agents.

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There’s No Sneaking Around FRCP Rule 30: Surreptitious Text Messages to Communicate with a Client During a Deposition Are Not Privileged

As text messages have become an increasingly common way for people to casually communicate, they are also being used as a method for attorneys to communicate legal advice to their clients.  However, the line must be drawn when attorneys try to use text messaging to communicate to their clients in secret during a court proceeding or deposition.

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Court Orders Sanctions Against The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey for Failing to Preserve Text Messages From an FBI Investigation

In United States v. Suarez, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey held that the government violated its duty to preserve relevant data during an ongoing investigation aimed at prosecution of certain individuals.

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EXCLUSIVE: eLessons Learned’s Exclusive Interview with the Honorable Ronald J. Hedges.

Interviewed by Catherine Kiernan, Co-Editor in Chief, eLLblog.com Thank you, Judge Hedges, for taking the time to provide eLLblog’s readers with some of your valuable insights about electronic discovery.

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Timing is Everything: A Stale Order in Trustees of the Local 464A United Food and Commercial Workers Union Pension Fund v. Wachovia Bank

Trs. of the Local 464A UFCW Pension Fund  was an ERISA action brought by union pension funds against a number of investment managers.  The parties submitted a joint discovery plain with a scheduling order and a deadline for amending pleadings.  The judge accepted this deadline, and, at first, all was well.  However, nearly eight months later, the plaintiffs asked to file an amended complaint.

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Past Website Content Is Discoverable and Can Come Back to Haunt You in Later Litigation

Anything you post on your website can be used against you in later litigation.  Deleting content is not a solution.  Like other electronic files, snapshots or copies of a website as it existed on a certain date are discoverable in litigation.  And for all types of documents, trying to cover tracks by denying their existence after previously disclosing possession of them gives a judge good reason for ordering spoliation sanctions like an adverse inference instruction.

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Spoliation Inference Is Appropriate Sanction in Fraud and Breach of Contract Case

A N.J. District Court Judge ordered that a spoliation inference being given in response to a motion by plaintiff that the individual defendants were erasing information from the company’s computers.

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Courts Split Over Whether Police Can Lawfully Search the Contents of Criminal Suspects’ Electronic Devices Based on Probable Cause or Warrants

In two recent cases, the Supreme Court of Ohio and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals took different approaches to whether police may search the contents of electronic devices belonging to criminal suspects, such as cell phones and external hard drives.

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