Court Denies Motion to Provide Access to Social Networking Sites in Civil Discovery

The decision by the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas is Arcq v. Fields (Dec. 8), and it distinguishes Largent v. Reed (blogged about recently here) on the ground that the party seeking discovery lacked a sufficient good-faith basis for requesting access to the private portion of the other side’s social networking accounts. In Largent, and in other cases, the party seeking discovery saw the public portion of her adversary’s Facebook account, and therefore had a basis to conclude that there may be relevant information in the private portions of the account. In Arcq, by contrast, the party seeking discovery made a blanket request for access to all of the other side’s social networking accounts, and yet didn’t know if his adversary even had any such accounts. The court in Arcq concludes that because the moving party did not first see the public portion of his adversary’s site, he lacks a good-faith basis to believe that there is relevant evidence in the private portions and therefore the motion to access the social networking sites is denied.

Thanks to Dissent for sending on a copy of the opinion.