social networking investigative tools AAPI

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Social Networking Sites as Investigative Tools:

Social Networking Sites as Investigative Tools AAPI National Summit October 19, 2010 Mary Jenkins Law Librarian & Director Hamilton County Law Library, Cincinnati, Ohio

Program Description:

Program Description The legal profession uses social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter extensively for professional networking and marketing. Those sites have also emerged as rich sources of information for litigation-related purposes. This session will showcase free websites and research techniques to help you investigate experts, jurors, witnesses, and clients. For more on social networking for the legal profession, generally, see my Feb 2010 presentation to the Cincinnati Paralegal Association:

Juicy Goodness for Litigation:

Juicy Goodness for Litigation


Assumptions You know something about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Martindale Hubbell Connected. You use one or more of those services. You want to know more about finding the dirt on other people like clients, experts, and jurors for work-related purposes.


Outline The courts and social media as evidence The mainstream social networks Real-time social searching Public records sites Free and low-cost case research The importance of verifying For more information

PowerPoint Presentation:

The courts and social media as evidence

“Do your social networking privacy settings matter if you get sued?”* :

“Do your social networking privacy settings matter if you get sued?”* * /.../do-your-social-networking-privacy-settings-matter-if-you-get-sued/

NY State Bar Ethics Opinion :

NY State Bar Ethics Opinion Opinion 843 (9/10/10) A lawyer who represents a client in a pending litigation, and who has access to the Facebook or MySpace network used by another party in litigation, may access and review the public social network pages of that party to search for potential impeachment material . As long as the lawyer does not "friend" the other party or direct a third person to do so , accessing the social network pages of the party will not violate Rule 8.4 (prohibiting deceptive or misleading conduct), Rule 4.1 (prohibiting false statements of fact or law), or Rule 5.3(b)(1) (imposing responsibility on lawyers for unethical conduct by nonlawyers acting at their direction).

Legitimate evidence:

Legitimate evidence In a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers , 81% of responders said they had seen an increase in the use of social networking evidence during the past five years. In fact, the survey cited Facebook as the "unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence“ .

Discoverable? Yes:

Discoverable? Yes Romano v. Steelcase, Inc. 2010 NY Slip Op 20388 Since information on a plaintiff's social networking accounts was material and necessary to the defense of her personal injury action and/or could lead to admissible evidence , and since the plaintiff's right to privacy was outweighed by the defendant's need for the information , pursuant to CPLR 3101, the defendant was entitled to the information .

Discoverable? Yes:

Discoverable? Yes NY Romano v. Steelcase also looked to other states for precedent: Ledbetter v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Civil Action No. 06-cv-01958-WYD-MJW, United States District Court for the District Of Colorado Leduc v. Roman , 2009 CanLII 6838 (ON S.C.)

Discoverable? Yes:

Discoverable? Yes People v. Franco , 2009 WL 3165840 (Cal. App. Ct. Oct. 5, 2009) Franco was convicted of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. She had posted on MySpace: “If you find me on the freeway and you can keep up I have a really bad habit of racing random people.”

Discoverable? No:

Discoverable? No Crispin v. Christian Audigier , Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52832, Case No. CV 09-09509 MMM ( Jemx ), United States District Court for the Central District of California “… only if Crispin had set his Facebook wall to allow viewing by "everyone" would his postings have been deemed truly public in the eyes of the California court. If Crispin's setting were "Friends Only," his status updates would be considered as private as an email message.”

For further reading:

For further reading Duhl , Gregory M. and Millner , Jaclyn S., Social Networking and Workers’ Compensation Law at the Crossroads (September 2010). Pace Law Review, Vol. 31; William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-16. Available at SSRN: Kisthardt Mary Kay and Handschu , Barbara, Using Social Network Evidence in Family Court (September 21, 2010). The National Law Journal Paul W. Grimm et al., Back to the Future: Lorraine v. Markel American Insurance Co. and New Findings on the Admissibility of Electronically Stored Information , 42 AKRON L. REV. 357, 370-71 (2009). Boyden, Bruce E., Can You Be Forced to Turn Over Your Social Network Passwords in a Civil Case?, Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog,

PowerPoint Presentation:

The mainstream social networks

PowerPoint Presentation:

PowerPoint Presentation:

Millions of unique visitors in August 2010

Typical scenarios *:

Typical scenarios * * These are examples for the purpose of illustration. I do not mean to imply any wrong doing by these particular people.

Privacy settings:

Privacy settings

Privacy settings:

Privacy settings

Blocking “friends”:

Blocking “friends”

PowerPoint Presentation:

Real-time social searching

May I see you in my office… now?:

May I see you in my office… now?

Think twice before clicking “tweet”.:

Think twice before clicking “tweet”.

Tracking tweets:

Tracking tweets To keep up with a keyword on Twitter, try these: TweetDeck HootSuite Monittor

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Public records sites

Public records/background checks:

Public records/background checks Cheap, good, fast: pick two! “No central repository exists for federal, state, and local…criminal records” * With the right preparation and tools, though, you can conduct a successful search. *

Fee-based sites:

Fee-based sites Lexis ( SmartLinx and Accurint ) Westlaw low-cost people finder (domain owned by LexisNexis) ChoicePoint (now a part of Lexis)

Free sites:

Free sites comprehensive as far as free sites go BRB Publications: a portal to other sites Phone directories, white pages, reverse look up,, Voter registration databases Drivers license databases

PowerPoint Presentation:

Free and low-cost case research

Check your local library or the web:

Check your local library or the web Look for sources: Public library research databases County or other government law libraries Bar association Try these systems: PreCYdent Virtual Chase lexisONE Public Library of Law Casemaker Fastcase Google Scholar

PowerPoint Presentation:

The importance of verifying

Mistakes happen:

Mistakes happen Verify the person’s identity Never friend someone to dig up info for litigation Check HR policies and forms if it’s a personnel issue; best to have general language in place Cross-check another website or social networking site if possible Search more than one public records directory Document, document, document

This isn’t me:

This isn’t me And this isn’t me

To share this presentation:

To share this presentation Search for my name and/or AAPI social networking

To contact me:

To contact me Mary Jenkins Hamilton County Law Library Cincinnati, Ohio 513.946.5300 IM jenkinscinci [email protected]