July 21, 2016 Top Story

Judge Restricts Lawyers from Researching Jurors Online

Disclose extent of research to venire or don't do it at all, judge says

Carl A. Aveni

A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the lawyers in a prominent copyright suit may not research the public social media posts of their prospective jurors—unless they fully disclose the extent of that research to each juror involved. Faced with such a choice, both counsel accepted the court’s proposed ban. Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google, Inc. The court’s order pushes back on a fairly standard litigation practice—trial counsel quietly examining what jurors publicly disclose about themselves in online forums and on social media.

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