The Plaintiffs in Fisher v. Communications Workers of America, 2008 NCBC 18 (N.C. Super. Ct. Oct. 30, 2008), a pending Business Court case involving the North Carolina Identity Theft Protection Act, are live and on YouTube, talking about their claims.
The Fisher case is the first court decision under the Act. It involves whether the posting of social security numbers on a bulletin board is a violation of the Act. In his October 30th opinion, Judge Diaz denied the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss.
The YouTube video (at the bottom of this post) brings out an interesting element of the case that isn’t mentioned in the Complaint. The Plaintiffs contend in the video that the bulletin board posting of their social security numbers was done by the defendant Union intentionally, to retaliate against them either because they wouldn’t join the Union, or because they wanted to (or had) quit the Union. They say that the Union deliberately posted their social security numbers in order to expose them to the risk of identity theft.
The video is on Freedom@Work, a blog associated with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The Foundation is representing the Plaintiffs and is publicly promoting their case, starting with a Press Release issued at the time the lawsuit was filed.
The use of YouTube in this way struck me as an unusual, and potentially risky, litigation strategy. If you put your clients out on YouTube talking about their claims, you are not only creating deposition fodder for opposing counsel, you are also taking the risk that what they say about the lawsuit may not receive the absolute privilege that covers statements made in court proceedings. That’s true even if you put a faux courtroom background in your video, as the Foundation did in theirs.