Subpoening Internet Companies

Subpoening Internet Companies

Subpoening Internet Companies

Although Facebook v. Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco is not a divorce case, the implications of the case can have an affect on family law.

The case involves a criminal defendant who was accused of murder and subpoenaed Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for posts that the victim had posted on his accounts.

In the criminal proceedings, the companies moved to quash the subpoenas based on the federal Stored Communications Act that prohibits the companies from disclosure of any communications without the user’s consent. The trial court denied the motion to quash and the companies appealed.

The First Appellate Court agreed with the providers. It stated that a trial court must review several factors to determine whether or not to force a third party to respond to a subpoena. The factors a family court must consider are

  • Whether the material requested is adequately described;

  • If the material is reasonably available to the entity and not readily available to the person subpoenaing it by other sources;

  • Whether it would violate third party confidentiality or privacy rights (or a government interest);

  • Whether the subpoena is timely;

  • Whether the time required to produce the requested information will necessitate an unreasonable delay of trial;

  • Whether the production of the records containing the requested information would place an unreasonable burden on the governmental entity involved;

  • Whether the defendant has shown a sufficient plausible justification for the information requested;

  • For the Internet companies, whether the information posted was public or private or whether the information was initially public then private; and

  • Whether the information can be obtained by a third party who initially received the post.

If you need legal advice and are looking for a family law lawyer in Orange County to address a dissolution issue such as child support, legal separation, annulment, custody, spousal support and/or property division, please consider Treviño Law in your divorce attorney search. We are located in Laguna Hills right off Lake Forest exit to both the 405 and 5 freeway.

Although the posting of this information can be considered free legal advice for a divorce in Orange County, it does not address other factors which may play a significant role in a particular dissolution. Circumstances in your divorce may alter the results in your dissolution.

Please note that this legal advice does not establish a family law attorney-client relationship. This is a legal advertisement for Treviño Law, Inc.

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