Case Law

Court Narrows the Scope of Social Media Discovery

Louisiana

Scott v. United States Postal Serv., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178702 (M.D. La. Dec. 27, 2016) In this personal injury case, the defendants moved the court to compel discovery of certain of the plaintiff’s social media accounts and postings, due to the plaintiffs’ untimely discovery responses. The defendant had requested all postings related to any type of physical or athletic activities from the date of the accident that were present on all social media websites. The plaintiff rejected the defendant’s requests as “inclement, immaterial and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." The court recognized that social media is discoverable under Fed.R.Civ.P. 34 and what defendants sought was relevant to the case, but that the defendant’s requests were overly broad. The court stated, “[A] request for discovery must still be tailored so that it appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Otherwise, the Defendant would be allowed to engage in the proverbial fishing expedition . . .” The court limited the defendant’s requests to the plaintiff's social media postings from the date of the accident to present that related to the plaintiff’s alleged physical injuries as a result of the accident, or physical capabilities that are inconsistent with the injuries that plaintiff allegedly suffered as a result of the accident. The court found that the language of the plaintiff’s objections were too boilerplate, and that because the objections were not filed timely under Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(2) and 34(b)(2)(A), were therefore waived.

Keywords: social media, discovery requests, motion to compel, relevant and proportional, overly broad