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Court Grants Request to Produce Social Media Data, Orders Supplementation Regarding Fitbit Data

Hinostroza V. Denny's Inc.

(D. Nev. June 29, 2018)


Why This Case is Important


In the past social media and other new data types (I.e., Activity tracker information) has not been widely requested in e-discovery Activities. with increased social media use, however, that is changing, and processes should be in place to preserve and produce this data, especially in a world becoming more dependent on social media and new data types for communicating and tracking analytics


Overview


In this slip and fall case, the defendant, Denny's, moved to compel discovery of a variety of data sources.


In discovery, the defendant asked the plaintiff to produce various categories of documents, including:


Documents and medical records related to two prior incidents

Text messages sent in the 48 hours after the accident

Any data form a FitBit or other activity tracker for 5 years prior to the accident

Review of the plaintiff's social media account

Employment records


When the plaintiff didn't fully produce the requested materials, the parties met and conferred three times to resolve their disputes. Nevertheless, the two sides couldn't come to an agreement on the e-discovery parameters and the defendant filed a motion to compel.


Ruling


Defendant's Motion to Compel Discovery Granted in Part


The court carefully analyzed each of the defendant's requests and permitted discovery of relevant records, narrowly tailoring some of the requests, including the social media request, to materials relating to the alleged accident or injuries.


Duty to the Party Resisting Discovery


The court noted that the "burden is on the party resisting discovery to show why a discovery request should be denied by specifying in detail, as opposed to general and boilerplate objections, why 'each request is irrelevant.'" In these instances, the court ruled the plaintiff did not meet this burden.


Social Media Evidence is Discoverable


For all e-discovery, not just claims of emotional distress, social media data is discoverable if it is relevant to the issues involved in the case. The court went on to state that social media activity can be "reflective of an individual's contemporaneous emotions and mental state."

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