Evidence from social-networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, has become increasingly common in modern litigation. In a recent decision, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware permitted the use of consumer responses to a blog post as evidence in a lawsuit alleging fraud and deceptive trade practices.
In the case of QVC, Inc. v. Your Vitamins, Inc., No. 10-094-SLR (D. Del. July 27, 2010), the owner of Your Vitamins, Inc., a dietary supplement manufacturer, posted very unsavory comments about QVC on his blog. Among the allegations was the charge that Hyaluronic Acid, one of the active ingredient in a QVC dietary supplement, was linked to cancer.
QVC sued, alleging a litany of claims under state and federal law, some of which required QVC to demonstrate that the objectionable blog posts caused consumer confusion. In order to prove confusion, QVC pointed to consumer comments in response to the blog post. After reviewing relevant posts, none of which was flattering to QVC, the Court concluded that there was no evidence of confusion.
While QVC’s novel use of blog posts proved unsuccessful in this case, it certainly opens the door for new and creative uses of Internet posts as evidence. It goes without saying that as the Internet and its related technologies continue to develop, there is no end to the ways in which it will impact the law.