Text Mining Tool is a freeware program for extraction of text from files of the next types: pdf , doc , rtf , chm , html without need to have installed any other programs like Word, Arcrobat, etc.
For the Plaintiff :
What type of Electronically Stored Information ( ESI )
regarding your client may hurt or help your case?
What is ESI ?
Federal Rules Definition: Committee Notes - information created, manipulated, communicated, stored, and best utilized in digital form, requiring the use of computer hardware and software . Electronically stored information is distinguished from information derived from "conventional" media, such as writing or images on paper, photographic images, & analog recordings.
Use Federal Rules in your State Case because GA Courts are trying to find their way now:
Checking your Client’s Social Media use/presence is a critical part of any claim or
Americans using Social Media:
More than 50% of adults ages 35-44 use online social networks.
Adults ages 45 to 54 - 38% to 40% of those use social networks.
Plaintiffs: Social Media May hurt your case
A fully filled out Facebook profile contains over 40 pieces of personal information
Facebook users create a profile, which includes:
– Contact Information
– Employment history
– Users belong to networks associates w/ a city, college, employer, clubs,
– Users upload photos and videos or are “tagged ” in pictures posted by friends.
– Wall postings where other users can post public messages, links etc.
– Status updates, which contain real time messages
– Friends lists
* Remove incriminating links, posts & photographs the day contract is signed .
* Review all social media sites used by your client
* Consider setting client’s social sites to “private.”
* Don’t forget blogs or forums.
New Jersey: Injured Plaintiff’s "symptoms and related health conditions" that had been "shared with others, including entries on Web sites such as Facebook or MySpace” were discoverable.
As to the Defendant:
Archive.org Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine: DOI
Defendant: View/Download Website
You will find nuggets of valuable information, but you must act quickly – waiting even one week may jeopardize your fact gathering.
Defendant: Waited too long/website taken down, changes made, or items deleted.
Getting ESI into Evidence
Critical Case: Lorraine v. Markel American Ins. Co .,241 F.R.D. 534 (D. Md. 2007)
Coverage dispute - whether lightning had caused damage to hull of plaintiff’s boat. Parties attached ESI (primarily emails and attachments) to motions for summary judgment, but Court denied motions because neither party laid proper foundation for admission of ESI. Court issued a 101 page decision setting out admissibility standards to authenticate ESI; (1)Relevancy (FRE 401); (2) Authenticity (Rule 901); (3) Hearsay/exceptions (Rules 801, 803, 804); (4) Best Evidence Rule & (5)Unfair prejudice (Rule 403)
Getting Websites into Evidence
Authentication of ESI: Websites • Hutchens v. Hutchens-Collins , 2006 WL 3490999 (D.Or. 2006)
– Defendant hired forensic vendor to download content of website pages to “write-only” CD-ROM’s. – Website freely available on internet. – Vendor tracked registered domain name to plaintiff’s corporation through publicly available WHOIS system. – Court held totality of circumstances
POTENTIAL JURORS: Research potential jurors - Trial Consultants – Add Facebook/MySpace to Juror Research Toolbox, Molly McDonough, A.B.A. J. , Sept. 29, 2008.
Always have a trial brief
Copy of Brief in Word and PDF on CD
PDF of cited case in hyperlink:
What to include on Trial Brief CD
If a Word document, don’t forget exhibits/cases.
If using a Trial brief with “embeded” links (where you link to cases and exhibits) remember to include exhibits/cases on the CD.
In the Courtroom
Call at least 2 weeks before trial to discuss what is in use.
If uncertain, bring a DVD player for video deps at trial (Check your CD format, DVD/mpeg4)