Judge Wants To 'Friend' Witnesses On Facebook To Resolve Fight Over Photos

from the creative-solutions dept

We just wrote about questions concerning subpoenas on Facebook profiles and it looks like the judge in that particular case has come up with something of a novel solution to the issue. Venkat Balasubramani, who's been following this case closely, notes that the (somewhat frustrated) magistrate judge has offered to set up a special temporary Facebook account, and "friend" the witnesses, so that the judge can see the photos that are at issue in the case, before closing down the account. The case itself involves a lawsuit against a bar by a woman who fell while attempting to dance on the bar.
Defendant subpoenaed Facebook for plaintiff's Facebook information, including photos of plaintiff and her friends dancing on the bar. The court quashed the subpoena to Facebook, and in response, defendant issued a subpoena to plaintiff's friends, who are witnesses in the case. The defendant sought photos posted by plaintiff and her friends that depicted the events on the night in question. The court finds that the subpoenas issued to these witnesses cannot be enforced by the district court in Nashville, and if defendant wants to move to compel, it must do so in Colorado and Kentucky, the districts where the subpoenas were issued out of.

The magistrate judge chastises both parties for their failure to cooperate in the discovery process, and specifically calls out the defendant for its "mishandling of the Facebook subpoena." The judge then offers to create a Facebook account "for the sole purpose of reviewing photographs and related comments in camera . . . and disseminat[ing] any relevant information to the parties." Assuming the non-party witnesses (who will be located/contacted via email (!)) will accept the judge's Facebook friend requests, the magistrate judge agrees to review their Facebook information, provide any relevant information or photographs to the parties, and then close the Facebook account. (It doesn't seem like the court will store copies of the non-relevant portions of the Facebook pages, even under seal.)
Seems like a creative way to get around some of the privacy issues in the case, though, you do wonder what happens if none of the witnesses wish to participate or share those images.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 4:41pm

    Images? What images, your honor? I would never post images on my Facebook - especially images of my friends and I dancing on a bar.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 5:43pm

    I came up with an idea a while ago. Often times we do class projects we do them on google groups. The teacher can make us add him/her to his/her google groups to be able to monitor how much work each student does.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    fogbugzd (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 6:03pm

    Good luck with that

    The judge will close the Facebook account when the case is over. Obviously the judge has never tried to delete a Facebook account.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Good luck with that

    Are you sure?

    Are you really sure???

    Are you really really really sure???????

    Take a minute... think about it......

    Come on... we know you don't want to.....


    Wait a minute....

    What did you want to do?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    john (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 7:12pm

    judges shouldn't do that when they're trying to judge

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    NAMELESS ONE, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 7:50pm

    BADGEERS we DONT need no stinkin badgeers

    WE CAN be buds with JUDGEES instead OH GEE.
    GREAT way to get kids to use faceplant
    have feds judges and UNPOPULAR presidents use it like BUSH

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 8:07pm

    like this persons friends will accept the judge as a friend

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Craig (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 10:48am

    This is somewhat odd, seeing as at the core no facebook photo is "private." The difficulty is only in getting the links to the photos. Try it for yourself, right click on any photo seen on facebook (or any site for that matter) and choose the option pertaining to the image URL (differs by browser). This gets you a direct link to an image, so while it does not have all the fancy stuff you can do in facebook, you can view it just fine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    tonya, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 6:36pm



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    kevinmitnick (profile), Jun 18th, 2010 @ 4:43am

    hacker for hire. hacks facebook account


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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