MARCH  2015


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New Media & the Courts Resources


Social media bill riding its way to the Texas House

When it was hard for litigants to deliver a post-judgment discovery matter, Texas Rep. Jeff Leach came up with the idea for House Bill 241, which would serve citations through social media when traditional methods fail. According to Texas Lawyer, “HB 241 would require the Texas Supreme Court to adopt civil procedural rules to allow substituted service citation through a defendant’s social media presence.” Before the social media method is allowed, litigants would have to diligently try to serve their opposing counsel in person or through certified mail. 

Court ‘unfriends’ interns’ social media proposal

Last year a group of unpaid interns sued Gawker alleging they performed duties similar to paid staff and should have been treated as employees and paid minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In November, the interns received a green light to use social media to notify potential opt-in plaintiffs regarding their right to join the FLSA collective action. But earlier this month, after reviewing the interns’ proposal, a New York judge denied their request because it “would call the attention of individuals not connected to the Fair Labor Standards Act suit rather than individuals with opt-in rights.” According to the judge, “the plaintiffs’ proposed use of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook was overbroad, saying the court had approved the use of notification by social media with the understanding that it would contain private, personalized notifications sent to identified potential plaintiffs who may not be reachable otherwise.”

India's Supreme Court strikes down social media law


India’s Supreme Court has struck down a provision of the country’s cyber law, which gave the police power to arrest a person for posting allegedly “offensive” content online. The court ruled that the law was “fringing on the public’s right to freedom of speech and right to information.”  Before this month’s ruling, the law allegedly was abused several times. A few years ago, two sisters were put behind bars for a Facebook post complaining of road jams created by a funeral procession. An 11 year-old boy was also jailed for a Facebook post.

North Carolina lawyers allowed to connect with judges on LinkedIn


The North Carolina State Bar released a formal advisory opinion stating a lawyer may accept an invitation and may endorse a judge on LinkedIn, but a lawyer cannot accept a legal skill or expertise endorsement or a recommendation from a judge. The opinion explained: "Interactions with judges using social media are evaluated in the same manner as personal interactions with a judge, such as an invitation to dinner.  In certain scenarios, a lawyer may accept a judge’s dinner invitation.  Similarly, in certain scenarios, a lawyer may accept a LinkedIn invitation to connect from a judge.  However, if a lawyer represents clients in proceedings before a judge, the lawyer is subject to the following duties:  to avoid conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; to not state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official; and to avoid ex parte communications with a judge regarding a legal matter or issue the judge is considering.  These duties may require the lawyer to decline a judge’s invitation to connect on LinkedIn."

When it comes to posting on social media, grammar matters.

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Please e-mail Deirdre Roesch.