Think Twice Before You Email or Post on Social Media Sites

January 04, 2011, 06:17 PM

A recent decision from a federal district court in California serves as a reminder to be careful what you email and post on social media websites before or during litigation. In a November 17, 2010 written opinion, the California district court overruled objections filed to a magistrate judges discovery ruling which held that plaintiff had waived the attorney-client privilege in certain areas through her conduct. Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., 2010 WL 4789099 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 17, 2010). Specifically, plaintiff made comments before and during litigation in emails and electronic chats with friends, in postings on her blog, and in statements to reporters in which she discussed conversations she had with her attorney. The court held that through her conduct, she waived the attorney-client privilege in three areas and required the production of responsive documents and two additional hours of deposition. The court concluded that when a client reveals to a third party something that her attorney thinks, she cannot avoid discovery on the basis that the communication was confidential. —Kristan B. Burch