The final changes brought about by the CORI Reform Law went into effect on May 4, 2012 and, with those changes, how employers access and use a job applicant's criminal history has changed. Employers must comply with the new procedures or may face fines up to $50,000.
While millions of Americans have become adept at managing their social network privacy settings to keep their postings hidden from the general public, individuals and companies involved in litigation should not expect those settings to shield information from discovery. The recent trend among numerous federal and state courts has been to find that "[Social Networking Site] content is not shielded from discovery simply because it is 'locked' or 'private.'" E.E.O.C. v. Simply Storage Management, LLC, 270 F.R.D. 430 (S.D. Ind. 2010). While "privacy concerns may be germane to the question of whether requested discovery is burdensome or oppressive and...has been sought for a proper purpose...a person's expectation and intent that her communications be maintained as private is not a legitimate basis for shielding those communications from discovery." Simply Storage at 434. Several other recent cases have followed this same reasoning, including Romano v. Steelcase, Inc., 30 Misc.3d 426 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2010) (ordering access to plaintiff's Facebook and MySpace records); Offenback v. L.M. Bowman, Inc., 2011 WL 2491371 (M.D. Penn. June 22, 2011) (ordering production of relevant information housed on Facebook after in camera review).
Increasingly the question regarding mediation of a complex business litigation case is not whether but when. Among experienced litigation counsel, there is widespread agreement that mediation should be attempted in many if not most cases. The resources of time and money committed to mediation are usually modest compared to the requisites of full-blown litigation. It is a voluntary and confidential process. Though experiences may vary, I have found that mediation succeeds more times than not in obtaining mutually acceptable settlements. Even if a case does not immediately settle in mediation, both parties are apt to receive significant value in obtaining the assessment of a neutral third party and also in learning more about how the other party (or parties) calculates the risks and rewards of the case.