The public now has more reasons to keep personal and harmful information off the Internet. Recent news reports that insurance companies will go on the Facebook and Twitter accounts of their clients who file accident and personal injury claims against them. They go on the social media sites to find evidence that could be used against the claimant in court.
In August, a federal judge dismissed charges against a fugitive Miami doctor indicted in one of the nation’s largest cases against Internet pharmacies. Internet pharmacies are a slew of pharmacies that consumers could just refill or put in their medication online due to savings and convenience. These prescription drugs such as birth control pills, pain medications, and diet pills were distributed without physician’s examination or prescription. Additionally, they are likely to get fake drugs that are contaminated, have expired, or with no active ingredients or the wrong amount of active ingredients or even toxic substances such as arsenic and rat poison. Research shows that only a few dozen of Internet pharmacies are legitimate and following the rules.
Even though this Miami doctor may have been convicted if they could fully prosecute him under the court of law, the prosecutor urged the court to dismiss the case because the evidence against thus doctor results for the case contained more than 400,000 documents and two terabytes of information. This information was too expensive for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to maintain. Even though the prosecutor had all this evidence against him, they could not show it in court merely because the evidence took up too much room and thus, had to let a criminal go free.
These days, it is crucial for lawyers to know and understand how social media works and how to utilize it to their advantage. Something posted online has the same rules as before in terms of lawsuits, except the liability of the defendants could be broader because information on the Internet does not have a jurisdictional limit. Otherwise, their opponents will use social media against them. As in the case of the Internet pharmacies, future Big Pharma and other defendants’ counsels will learn from this case and advice the defendants to their Internet networks updated so that they can overload the networks of the various governmental enforcement agencies with electronic data during the discovery stage, even before the case goes to trial. In order to win a case against the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies, the plaintiffs’ lawyers must also be willing to invest the money and the resources to keep their networks updated.
The Rhode Island attorneys at d’Oliveira & Associates has an information sheet that they give to each of their clients so that they know the dangers and pitfalls of using social media. They explain clearly to each of their clients that they should not make any statements on the social media networks about their case. Furthermore, they strongly recommend that the client close or deactivate their accounts until their case is completed. The Law Offices of d’Oliveira and Associates are at the top of their competitors when it comes to utilizing social media and the Internet to improve their strategies both during trial preparation and during the actual trial.
d’Oliveira & Associates 2540 PAWTUCKET AVE. EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. 02914 (401) 431-1990