Internet Law

Trial Courts Yet to Find Consistency in 'Facebook Race'

, The Legal Intelligencer


Social Media Mashup

The defense motion to compel discovery, on the other hand, focused on the fact that Mazzarella objected to an interoggatory regarding her use of social media and how information on Mazzarella's social media pages could relate to the subject matter of her case — injuries and limitations due to a slip-and-fall at the casino in 2008.

The casino argued the existence of social media, on its own, shows the webpages could house valuable information for the defendant's case.

"By its very definition, social networking involves interactive online sharing and disclosure of one's personal life and activities with others," the motion said.

The defense also argued that a risk/reward analysis shows that any harm Mazzarella may suffer in disclosing the usernames and passwords to her social networks was outweighed by the benefit that information could give the court.

"Clearly, the existence of social media is discoverable, as well as access to that social media," wrote Michael F. Frisbie, the Hendrzak & Lloyd attorney who is representing Mount Airy Casino Resort.

In an interrogatory, the casino asked Mazzarella to state whether she was a member of any social networking group, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or MySpace.

If yes, the defense asked for the name and Web address for each site, Mazzarella's dates of membership and her passwords to log in.

Frisbie did not return a call requesting comment.

'No Clear Consensus'

For Scranton attorney Daniel E. Cummins, who has been keeping track of state court decisions on Facebook motions on his blog, TortTalk, and is a regular columnist for the Law Weekly, the recent cases highlight the need for appellate review in Pennsylvania. While the public-to-private standard has been adopted more often than not, it is certainly not set in stone, Cummins said.

As Cummins put it: "There's no clear consensus yet. We're going to continue to see motions and continue to see conflicting decisions."

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