#LMAMKT

Business Social Media Accounts Can Be Part of Bankruptcy Estate

A Southern District of Texas bankruptcy court ruled that business social media accounts are property that has value and belongs to the subject business. Therefore, the accounts are part of the businesses’ bankruptcy estate and must be surrendered by the businesses’ former owner. The case is In re: CTLI LLC, No. 14-33564 (Bankr. S.D. Tx. Apr. 3, 2015).

Here is a more extensive article about the case but it is behind the Law360 paywall: Social Media Can Be Part Of Ch. 11 Estate, Judge Rules – Law360.

facebook

New York Court Permits Service of Divorce Papers via Facebook

Social Media SwirlJustice Matthew Cooper, of the Manhatten Supreme Court, made a landmark ruling that permits a woman to serve divorce papers on her estranged husband via Facebook messenger. In this case, it only makes sense to permit this:

  • The husband has deserted the wife
  • The husband has no fixed address or place employment
  • The husband’s only contact with the wife has been via telephone and Facebook
  • The wife has been diligent in trying to serve the husband but he has refused to make arrangements to accept service

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Judge says Brooklyn woman can use Facebook to serve divorce papers

This is an interesting development in the law. Just a couple of years ago, a Federal judge in New York refused to allow service via Facebook — and I blogged about that case as well as the then-ongoing debate in Texas about a legislative proposal to allow service of legal documents via social media. I am sure we will see more of it as this is the natural trend for the law to take.

-Shawn

#LMAMKT

Post Webinar Thoughts: Simple Ways to Effectively Use Social Media to Help Build Your Law Practice

Here is a great post by Cordell on a few takeaways from our webinar on social media marketing for lawyers. Check it out and let us know what you think: Simple Ways to Effectively Use Social Media to Help Build Your Law Practice | Cordell Parvin Blog.

Part 3 of Series: Simple Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Practice in One Hour

cordellHere is the third and final post in my 3 part series on Cordell Parvin’s blog: Lawyers: Simple Ways to Use Social Media Marketing in One Hour: Part 3 | Cordell Parvin Blog.

If you missed them, here are the first two posts:

I also have several other posts where I discuss my coaching experience with Cordell — check them out and give him a call, he doesn’t bite! Here is his website and his blog.

Part 2 of Series: Simple Ways to Use Social Media Marketing in One Hour

Here is part 2 of my 3 part guest post series on my coach Cordell Parvin’s blog: Lawyers: Simple Ways to Use Social Media Marketing in One Hour (Part 2) | Cordell Parvin Blog.

Lawyers: Simple Ways to Use Social Media Marketing in One Hour: Part 1 | Cordell Parvin Blog

Check out my guest blog post on my “coach” Cordell Parvin’s blog:  Lawyers: Simple Ways to Use Social Media Marketing in One Hour: Part 1 | Cordell Parvin Blog.

Do you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in social network posts? No, here is why …

Social Media SwirlThere is no reasonable expectation of privacy in information you post on social networking sites, regardless of what privacy setting you use.  

That is the rule that can be taken from Nucci v. Target Corp., a recent opinion from an appellate court in Florida. The court’s rationale is set out below, with citations omitted:

We agree with those cases concluding that, generally, the photographs posted on a social networking site are neither privileged nor protected by any right of privacy, regardless of any privacy settings that the user may have established. Such posted photographs are unlike medical records or communications with one’s attorney, where disclosure is confined to narrow, confidential relationships. Facebook itself does not guarantee privacy. By creating a Facebook account, a user acknowledges that her personal information would be shared with others. “Indeed, that is the very nature and purpose of these social networking sites else they would cease to exist.” 

Because “information that an individual shares through social networking web-sites like Facebook may be copied and disseminated by another,” the expectation that such information is private, in the traditional sense of the word, is not a reasonable one.
As one federal judge has observed,

Even had plaintiff used privacy settings that allowed only her “friends” on Facebook to see postings, she “had no justifiable expectation that h[er] ‘friends’ would keep h[er] profile private. . . . ” In fact, “the wider h[er] circle of ‘friends,’ the more likely [her] posts would be viewed by someone [s]he never expected to see them.” Id. Thus, as the Second Circuit has recognized, legitimate expectations of privacy may be lower in e-mails or other Internet transmissions.

We distinguish this case from Root v. Balfour Beatty Construction, LLC. That case involved a claim filed by a mother on behalf of her three-year-old son who was struck by a vehicle. Unlike this case, where the trial court ordered the production of photographs from the plaintiff’s Facebook account, the court in Balfour ordered the
production of a much broader swath of Facebook material without any temporal limitation—postings, statuses, photos, “likes,” or videos—that relate to the mother’s relationships with all of her children, not just the three year old, and with “other family members, boyfriends, husbands, and/or significant others, both prior to, and following the accident.” The second district determined that “social media evidence is discoverable,” but held that the ordered discovery was “overbroad” and compelled “the production of personal information . . . not relevant to” the mother’s claims. Id. at 868, 870. The court found that this was the type of “carte blanche” irrelevant discovery the Florida Supreme Court has sought to guard against. The discovery ordered in this case is narrower in scope and, as set forth above, is calculated to lead to evidence that is admissible in court.

Thanks to my friend Dale Rodriguez for bringing this case to my attention.