Feb. 23 — A plaintiff must produce his Twitter account and explain in a log what he redacted or withheld from earlier productions of his social media communications, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana ruled Feb. 20.
Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich wrote that plaintiff David O. Haddad also must pay attorneys' fees and reasonable expenses incurred by the defendants because of the discovery dispute over whether he adequately produced social media information.
The case began when Haddad sued Lake Central School Corp. in November 2011 for physical and emotional damages because of alleged bullying and harassment from fellow students. During discovery, the school district sought communications made by Haddad on social media.
A January 2014 order in the case held that Haddad had to produce any social media information that was relevant to his mental state.
The court said that Haddad provided about 85 pages of redacted material, but it “did not include all categories of information that Facebook permits its users to download.” Defense counsel subsequently deposed Haddad and showed him a Facebook post that appeared to be missing from his production. “Haddad answered that he did not recall whether he had deleted the post and admitted he may have deleted the post prior to the court order,” the court said.
Haddad's counsel withdrew from the case, and the school district asked Haddad directly for additional information from his Facebook account, the court said. The plaintiff said he produced all responsive information, leading the defendants to file a motion for sanctions in August 2014.
Haddad obtained new counsel, who produced 1,415 pages of materials from Haddad's Facebook account and documents from his Twitter account. The defendants were again dissatisfied with the production, the court said, because it was “over seventy-five percent redacted and included approximately 1,000 fully redacted pages.” They also argued that he failed to produce deleted communications from his social media accounts.
The defendants asked the court to dismiss the case or impose lesser sanctions on Haddad. The court has the power to impose sanctions for failure to comply with a court order under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b)(2).
It ruled that it wouldn't order dismissal of Haddad's case because of the lack of prior sanctions against Haddad or exceptional misconduct by the plaintiff.
Lesser sanctions such as requiring Haddad to produce his Twitter profile, provide a log detailing what information was redacted for relevance and pay attorneys' fees were appropriate, the court said. It found that Haddad was responsible for his prior and current counsels' insufficient discovery productions of social media communications.
Loevy & Loevy represented Haddad. Crist, Sears & Zic LLP represented Lake Central School Corp.
The full text of D.O.H. v. Lake Cent. Sch. Corp. is available at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/DOH_v_Lake_Cent_Sch_Corp_No_211cv430_2015_BL_43689_ND_Ind_Feb_20_
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)