Judge Wettick is a a discovery judge. He knows what he is doing. And I have waited for some time to hear what he has to say about Facebook and discovery. I actually had the chance to speak with Judge Wettick about Facebook and discovery some years ago when I asked him to speak at a seminar for PBI. He acknowledged at the time he didn’t know much about it, but he would be concerned about privacy issues. We actually had a fun little debate. The judge’s privacy concerns come up in his decision, but he notes that the level of privacy rights for Facebook, while in existence, are not particularly high. I can tell that Judge Wettick took the time to educate himself before he wrote his opinion. He uses his opinion to educate everyone else too.
The judge seems to have followed along with the other opinions in Pennsylvania. Essentially, we aren’t going to let you go on fishing expeditions in this state. Good, I say. The right to discovery of social media, just because it exists, without any further basis shouldn’t be allowed. But when you can prove inconsistencies in what the party states versus what is ethically and legally viewable on social media, then the opposing party should have a right to take a closer look at what is going on.
I will provide a more detailed analysis as soon as I have a chance to give the opinion a thorough reading.