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NEWS FLASH: NOTHING YOU POST IS SECRET! How to Handle Social Media During Litigation MARCH 2022 GIBSONLAWGROUP.COM (817) 769-4044 DIVING DOWN WITH GLG
When I was a younger lawyer, the firm I worked for represented a big defense contractor. This company had no problem making weapons of mass destruction, but they did have a problem with one of their employees slacking off. The guy disappeared from his desk for hours at a time without telling a soul where he went. As you might imagine, the defense contractor wasn’t having any of that! They fired the guy and gave the employment lawyers at our firm the heads up. Then, something hilarious happened: The canned employee complained that he was fired unfairly, totally denied his disappearing act, and sued for discrimination. Why was this so funny? As I said, we represented a defense contractor, and they are usually pretty tech savvy. Although the employee didn’t realize it, the name badge that he wore on his lanyard every day was microchipped with a GPS, 20 years ahead of its time! With a few strokes of the keyboard, our team proved he spent 4–5 hours of his workday every day hiding out in the bathroom or smoking on the loading dock. That employee ran away from the case with his tail between his legs, and I still chuckle about it more than 20 years later. But my funny story has a cautionary tale buried in the middle of it: When it comes to litigation, your cellphone and social media accounts can give you away just as quickly as that microchipped name tag. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve used social media to bury my clients’ opponents in business law cases. People do crazy things online, and we lawyers can dig them all up rather easily! • If your employee takes a sick day and then posts about their trip to the beach on Facebook, we’ll catch them. • If your business partner signs a contract then gloats on Twitter about taking you to the cleaners, we’ll find it. • If that guy who owes you money claims he’s broke, then posts a photo on Instagram posing with his new Maserati, we’ll expose him for the liar he is … and probably take his Maserati. Yes, all of these things have actually happened. I’ve even seen people negotiate entire contracts on Twitter — talk about being transparent.
I always advise my clients to stay off social media as much as possible, particularly if they’re in the middle of a legal battle. Anything you post or tweet could end up as Exhibit A in a trial in front of a judge and jury. This has actually happened to my clients more than once when they didn’t listen to my advice, and I’ve definitely done it to others on behalf of our clients. If you have to post, stick to this rule: Don’t put something on social media you wouldn’t be perfectly happy showing your mom, your spiritual advisor, or a Texas jury. Take it from a lawyer who has seen it all (almost) — no matter how discreet you think you’re being, there’s always someone with the tech know-how to dig up that dirt. Even disappearing posts from platforms like Vine and Snapchat aren’t as safe as they look. That’s why the only things you’ll find on our Facebook page (Facebook. com/GibsonLawGroupDallasTX) are carefully vetted company posts and messages wishing someone a happy birthday. It is simply not worth the risk of being hoisted by one’s own petard (which is actually a small bomb and might be a more pleasant experience)!
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Spring Fever Enjoy Warm Weather While Stuck Indoors
Try working outside. If your boss will allow it, there’s probably some opportunity to do a bit of work outdoors. Meetings and conference calls might offer your best option. For in-person meetings, your coworkers will also likely relish a chance to take it outdoors. In the event of a conference call, you won’t need to convince anyone else — grab your laptop and go! It’s not the same as enjoying the weather while you’re off the clock, but it’s a lot better than being cooped up inside.
The weather is warming up, the sun is out — and you’re trapped inside. Most of us have jobs that leave us stuck indoors during spring’s prime midday hours, and it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on the season’s best parts. Unfortunately, your boss probably won’t give you the day off just because of the gorgeous weather. So, we’ve compiled the next best thing — some tips to enjoy the season as much as you can while also getting your job done. Bring the outdoors in. When the weather is nice, open as many curtains and blinds as possible. The natural light will warm up the room and brighten your mood. While you’re at it, try opening the windows and positioning yourself near one. If you can’t be outside, the spring breeze on your face is the next best thing. Plants decrease stress, and having them on your desk might also trick your brain into feeling less cooped up. Take a break. You’ve still got to work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sneak in a few minutes outdoors. Use your break for an outdoor stroll; if possible, you can also walk or bike to work. At the very least, park farther away to give yourself time to enjoy the weather. Volunteer to do a coffee run, pick up lunch, or take out the mail — you’ll be an office hero while catching some rays at the same time.
With any luck, these tips will help you make it to Friday with your sanity intact. And luckily, the weekend is always just around the corner.
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Though film and TV scripts tend to use uniform wording, there’s no required Miranda rights phrasing. Police only need to state the rights and ensure the suspect understands them. It’s also notable that police only have to read Miranda rights when they arrest a suspect — and they can question someone without
hearings, or a trial without representation — and if you cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court will provide you with a public defender. Ironically, to invoke your right to remain silent, you have to talk — simply not speaking isn’t considered sufficient. A person needs to say as clearly as possible that they are invoking their rights and want an attorney.
detaining them. Courts consider anything the suspect says when not under arrest to be of their own free will.
If you’re ever arrested or questioned in connection with a crime, the best way to protect your rights is to invoke them right away. Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney or ask the court to appoint one for you. The lawyer will review your case, help you understand the charges, and provide expert guidance on your next steps. Don’t feel bad about doing so — these rights are enshrined in the Constitution. They’re just that important.
Many people waive their rights because they know they’re not guilty — or they think that speaking with the police will make them look innocent. Criminal defense attorneys strongly advise against this. Body language, off-handed statements, or inconsistent recounting of events can be used as evidence of guilt. And sadly, many innocent people have been sentenced to time in prison.
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TAKE A BREAK
Why One Man Sued Michael Jordan for $832 Million I DON’T WANT TO BE LIKE MIKE
Many people have been told they
have a passing resemblance to a celebrity, and they usually have a funny story or two. To Allen Ray Heckard, his celebrity look- alike was no laughing matter. In 2006, he sued Michael
Jordan for looking too much like him and ruining his life.
The amount of the lawsuit was $832 million, and Heckard not only sued Jordan but also Nike, reasoning that the company helped Jordan achieve his incredible fame. The complaint argued that the resemblance to Jordan “has troubled
Heckard’s nerves” and being stopped by fans caused him emotional distress for over 15 years. He requested damages for defamation, permanent injury, and pain and suffering. For someone tired of being “recognized,” Heckard didn’t shy away from media coverage. When asked how he arrived at the astronomical $832 million lawsuit figure, he gave this much- shared (yet difficult to parse) answer: “Well, you figure with my age, and you multiply that by seven and, ah, then I turn around and, ah, I figure that’s what it all boils down to.” When asked why he felt the resemblance to Jordan had affected his life so negatively, he could only answer, “I want to be recognized as me, just like Michael’s recognized as Michael.” Funnily enough, most people didn’t think Heckard and Jordan looked alike at all. While each had a bald head, mustache, and a gold earring, the similarities seemed to end there. Many news stories noted that, compared to Jordan, Heckard is 8 years older and 6 inches shorter. One question reporters did not appear to ask was why Heckard felt that Jordan should be held personally liable for hundreds of millions of dollars simply for his natural appearance. Sadly, we will probably never know the answer because the case ended rather unceremoniously. After a few weeks, Heckard dropped the lawsuit. He never publicly shared why, but a Nike spokesperson was glad to speculate that Heckard “finally realized he would end up paying our court costs if the lawsuit went to trial.” In the end, many ‘90s kids would argue that Heckard was most guilty of looking a gift horse in the mouth. After all, there is no higher achievement than to “be like Mike.”
EASY MARCH MADNESS CHILI
Cheer on your favorite team and chow down in minutes with this easy chili recipe!
• 2 16-oz cans diced tomatoes • 2 16-oz cans small red beans • 2 8-oz cans tomato sauce
• 2 lbs ground beef • 2 tbsp chili powder • 1 tbsp Creole seasoning • 1 tsp ground cumin
1. In a deep pot, brown the beef, stirring often. 2. Once beef is cooked, add chili powder, Creole seasoning, and cumin, cooking for 1 minute. 3. Stir in diced tomatoes, beans, and tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. 4. After the mixture boils, reduce the heat to low and let chili simmer for 15 minutes. 5. Serve with toppings of choice, like cheese, sour cream, or chives.
Inspired by MyRecipes.com
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
The Social Media Tip You Need Today
Enjoy Spring Weather — Even From Work
Easy March Madness Chili Someone Sued Michael Jordan?
What Do Your Miranda Rights Mean?
You Have the Right to … What Now? Understanding and Using Your Miranda Rights
But why are these words so ubiquitous? What do they mean in the real world? And do you really need to worry about your rights if you haven’t committed a crime? Miranda rights originated in 1966 through the Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona . Police arrested Ernesto Miranda on kidnapping charges, and after two hours of questioning, he eventually confessed to the crime. His attorneys argued that Miranda did not understand his rights at the time of the confession, so the courts should disregard it as evidence of his guilt. The Supreme Court agreed, saying that one cannot sign away their rights without first understanding them. The right to remain silent originates from the Fifth Amendment right to not self-incriminate. In this context, “staying silent” means not answering questions from the police. Though experts recommend silence from the beginning, a person can invoke their rights partway through an interrogation. The right to an attorney means you do not have to go through questioning,
If you watch a lot of procedural dramas on television, you can probably recite your Miranda rights by heart:
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
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