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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102142
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Divorce case. I requested Facebook account of my ex. Her

Customer Question

Divorce case. I requested Facebook account of my ex. Her lawyer responded that it would be "overly burdensome to produce". After multiple back and forth, he finally sent me the Facebook archive, heavily edited (I have proof of that). Moreover, the date of the Facebook archive file was BEFORE the date when he responded that it would be burdensome to produce. When I complained that the Facebook archive was edited, the lawyer then stated that there is nothing more he could produce because his client had deleted her Facebook account (which is also not true).
The divorce has been settled (to my loss). I filed a complaint to the Bar about all these blatant lies. But the Bar rejected my complaint because "they cannot conclusively prove that the lawyer did anything wrong". While it is very likely that the lawyer knew full well that what he stated in his responses was wrong, the Bar said that they have no way to conclusively prove that, therefore they denied my complaint.
My question is whether there is any legal/professional way to hold the lawyer accountable? Surely he has to bear some responsibility and not totally shielded by "that is what my client told me" BS?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. You went at this the wrong way, so to speak. Instead of pursuing the attorney, someone in your situation should have pursued the party.

What should have been done from the very beginning is that once the other side refused to provide the FB account (or provided a redacted version), then someone in your situation could have filed a Motion to Compel production and let the Judge order them to do so.

At this point, the other side may have complied, or, filed a Motion for Protection asking the Court to allow the redaction, but they'd have to show a GOOD REASON as to why.

So what someone in your situation wants to do now is to simply file a Motion to Compel production of a non-redacted FB account. If they really did delete their account and it is no longer available, then someone in your situation can still possibly get it. This would be done by filing a subpoena to Facebook. Since FB keeps a deleted account "archived" for some time, they can likely provide a copy if subpoenaed (not the whole account, but some of it). Although FB is somewhat resistant to subpoenas and tries to shy away from them citing federal law, there are ways to force the issue (even if it means a compel order against the party itself to restore the account).

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
there is nothing I can do at this point to to hold the lawyer accountable, legally or professionally, for all his lies? My divorce is totally done, so I can no longer file any motion. I am pretty sure if I can get a copy of his communication with his client that I can prove conclusively that he knew that his response was a lie. Is there any way I can obtain that communication now that the divorce case is done?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

I am afraid not. If the divorce is done and the matter is over, then this is now considered "moot." I am sorry and I know it is unfair, but at this point, there is little that can be done against the attorney.

Attorney-client communication is privileged - I am afraid you cannot request it.

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