Court Denies Defendants’ Request For Unlimited Access to Plaintiff’s Facebook Account

29 Apr 2015

Defendants sought full access to Plaintiff’s Facebook account, including Plaintiff’s username and password, in the putative class action case In re Milo’s Kitchen Dog Treats Consolidated Cases, Civil Action No. 12-1011 (W.D. Penn. April 14, 2015). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants’ dog treats harmed her dog. Defendants claimed that before she filed her complaint, Plaintiff had posted a Facebook entry where she blamed another dog treat company for her dog’s harm. Plaintiff denied that she purchased any other dog treats besides Defendants’ brand; based on that denial, Defendants sought unfettered access to Plaintiff’s Facebook account, without any date restrictions.

Plaintiff opposed the motion, calling it “inherently overbroad” and noting that she provided 648 pages of Facebook data. The Facebook data provided did indeed contain information indicating that Plaintiff purchased dog treats other than Defendant’s brand. It also contained conversations Plaintiff had with others about the dog treat brand and the instant litigation.

Defendants asserted that once they made a relevancy showing regarding the Facebook account, the court should grant them unfettered access to the account, citing in support Largent v. Reed, 2011 WL 5632688 (Pa. Ct. Com. Pl. Nov. 8, 2011) and two other cases. The court disagreed with Defendants, finding these cases factually distinguishable, noting that in the personal injury litigation Largent v. Reed, for example, the plaintiff had refused to provide any Facebook data, unlike Plaintiff here. The court also noted that Plaintiff’s lifestyle and activities, to which Facebook data might be highly relevant, were not in contention the same way they would be in a personal injury litigation. Accordingly, the court denied the Defendants’ request for full access to Plaintiff’s Facebook profile.

ILS – Plaintiff eDiscovery Experts