Home » Blog » Discovery » Court Rejects Defendants’ Attempts to Obtain Social Media Discovery From Discrimination Plaintiff

Court Rejects Defendants’ Attempts to Obtain Social Media Discovery From Discrimination Plaintiff

by mjpospis on May 20, 2013

in Discovery, Employment Discrimination, Gender Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment, Retaliation, Sexual Harassment, Social Media in Litigation

A federal court last week struck down an employment discrimination defendant’s attempt to obtain broad-ranging discovery from plaintiff in her Title VII gender discrimination, hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and retaliation case.

The court’s decision in Kennedy v. Contract Pharmaceutical Corp. is here.

Social Media Document Requests

Social media is everywhere, and much has been written on social media evidence in litigation.  See, for example, here, here, and here.

In Kennedy, the court rejected defendants’ attempts to compel the production of a number of documents relating to plaintiff’s use of “social networking sites”, such as

  • “[a]ll documents concerning, relating to, reflecting and/or regarding Plaintiff’s utilization of social networking sites,”
  • “[a]ll documents, including, but not limited to postings, concerning, relating to, reflecting and/or regarding Plaintiff’s expression of an emotional feeling while utilizing a social networking site,” and
  • “[a]ll documents, including, but not limited to postings, concerning, relating to, reflecting and/or regarding Plaintiff’s employment with Defendants while utilizing a social networking site”.

The court sustained plaintiff’s objections on the ground that all of these requests were  “vague, overly broad, and unduly burdensome” because they were not sufficiently specific and there was “no effort to limit these requests to any relevant acts alleged in this action.”

Too Many Interrogatories

The court also agreed with the plaintiff that although defendants served only 16 numbered interrogatories – “interrogatories” are simply written questions – they contained 27 subparts and therefore exceeded FRCP 33(a)(1)‘s limit of 25.

Depositions More Appropriate Than Interrogatories For “Narrative” Information

Next, the court rejected defendants’ attempt to obtain, via interrogatories, “narrative information that may more readily be developed at a deposition”.

This included requests for plaintiff to

  • “identify the nature of and describe the allegedly discriminatory and harassing conduct” and
  • identify “persons present, dates and locations where discriminatory acts occurred and the circumstances relating to any reporting”.

Categories: Discovery, Employment Discrimination, Gender Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment, Retaliation, Sexual Harassment, Social Media in Litigation

Tags:

Previous post:

Next post: