Just about everyone nowadays has a cell phone. More specifically, most have "smart phones" such as an iphone, Droid, or Blackberry. With these recent “can't live without” pieces of technology comes the ability to communicate in numerous forms with virtually anyone, anywhere, at any time. Because of this recent technological trend, people are more prone to open themselves up to a greater degree of liability as it pertains to their communications. In other words, we as a society need to really watch what we say within the realm of texts, emails, and social networking sites as said communication could be held against us in a court of law.
Practically everyone, including their mothers (and grandmothers) are on Facebook. Facebook is currently the holy grail of the social networking sites and people post everything on there from how tired they are to how much they enjoy chocolate. Due to its public nature, people don't often realize that when they post their dirty laundry on other peoples "wall," said communication can be taken and interpreted out of context. When parties, such as bickering spouses enter litigation in Family Court, these prior communications can come into play and may prove to be at the detriment of the deponent. More often than not, what people post on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace is meant to be taken in jest. However, on its face, the posts could be interpreted differently and the deponent often has an uphill battle in demonstrating the appropriate context in which it was meant to be taken.
Within the last few years, the concept of text messaging has really become popular within the world of communications, so much so that people often text one another when they are in the same room! This is another area where the information provided within the confines of a text could be drastically misleading and misinterpreted. If one goes through the right channels, a transcript of text chats can be obtained and are often submitted in court as evidence during trial. These types of transcripts do not always hold up under scrutiny, but one should be careful when posting on Facebook and similar sites in order to avoid such hassle.
So the next time you text a friend, co-worker, or family member, be sure that it is appropriate and within the boundaries of the law. Some texts can come back to haunt you. Just ask Brett Favre and Tiger Woods.
Martin A. Carbone, Esq.