The American Bar Association recently published Formal Opinion 11-460 to provide guidance to attorneys regarding their ethical duty upon discovering emails between a third party and the third party’s attorney. The Opinion interprets Model Rule 4.4(b) literally, concluding that neither that rule nor any other requires an attorney to notify opposing counsel of receipt of potentially privileged communications. The Opinion is of particular note because it directly contradicts the New Jersey Supreme Court’s opinion in Stengart v. Loving Care Agency. Inc. 201 N.J. 300 (2010).
As recently reported by The Press of Atlantic City, on November 4, 2010, the Honorable Raymond Batten, J.S.C., dismissed a potential juror after defense counsel advised that the juror attempted to “friend” his client on Facebook. The potential juror was dismissed from serving in the trial of Atlantic City Councilman Marty Small, LuQuay Zahir and ten others who are accused of voter fraud during the councilman’s unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2009
Accessing an Adversary’s Public Social Networking Information — N.Y. Professional Ethics Opinion 843
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace are among the top social media websites that have culturally transformed electronic communications and social interactions. Inevitably, these platforms have also affected litigation practice and present myriad ethical dilemmas. One such dilemma is whether an attorney can access an adverse party’s social networking website to obtain information about the party, including impeachment material.