While social media can be a powerful networking tool, careless posting can devastate your case when you face a civil lawsuit in Washington, D.C., either as the Plaintiff or the Defendant. In litigation, the other party may gain access to all your social media postings, and this can devastate your case. Even lighthearted, joking comments between friends can sway the judge or jury against you. Protect your case by following these social media guidelines when you face a civil lawsuit.
Archive and Deactivate Current Accounts
If possible, avoid using social media at all while your case is pending. Destroying potential evidence may also harm your case, so you may be required to preserve your social media accounts. You may not need to keep those accounts active, but you should talk to your attorney first. Most social media websites have directions for archiving your content and deactivating your account.
Protect your computer, tablet, and/or cell phone. If you lose or damage one of your electronic devices, the opposing attorney may argue that you deliberately destroyed the evidence
In some cases, deactivating your social media accounts may not be possible, especially if you own a business and need to maintain a social media presence. Your business can maintain its social media presence while you lock down your personal information to protect your case.
Use the highest privacy setting level on all social media accounts. Facebook has a "View As" feature, which allows you to view your profile as others see it. You can remove your Facebook page from Google search listings by unchecking the boxes that say, "Allow anyone to see my public search listing" and "Allow my public search listing to be indexed by external search engines" on the Search Privacy page.
You may also want to untag all photos of yourself that others have posted.
Go through your Friends list and remove anyone you do not know well. Do not accept any new friend requests while your case is pending.
Even after trying to appear invisible online, some information, posts, or photos may be discoverable through a court order. Talk to your lawyer about the best course of action in your case.
Post With Caution
If you must post to your social media accounts, do so with caution. Assume that the opposing party will see your post, and consider if they can use it out of context to further their case.
Do not post anything about your case or use social media private messaging to discuss your case with friends. Additionally, do not send any emails about your case to anyone except your attorney.
Although many people find online support groups helpful, avoid these until your case is settled. This includes private social media groups, message boards, blogs, and chat rooms. These postings are highly discoverable by search engines.
Hire an Experienced Litigation Attorney in Washington, D.C.
Whether you are the Plaintiff or the Defendant in a civil lawsuit in Washington, D.C., you need an aggressive litigation attorney from S.L. England, PLLC to fight for you and advise you how to use social media safely while your case is pending. If you need to file a civil lawsuit or if you have been served with papers, contact us today at (202) 572-1020 or contact us online.