A True Story about Discovery of Old Tweets In Litigation

I solemnly swear that the story you are about to read is the truth and nothing but the truth. So help me, Las Vegas.

A few years ago, I went to Sin City for a quick trip to watch the “big football game” with friends. On Monday, I was standing in line to cash out my winnings from the craps table. There were several people in each of the several lines open at the cashier’s window. Next to cashier’s station was a large temporary sign that instructed patrons that football tickets could be redeemed only in the Sports Book–not in the casino.

In the line to my left were four men. I would have guessed them to be in their late 40s or early 50s. They each were dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, jeans, and loafers. They’d had a bit too much to drink and were a bit louder than was necessary. A couple of them were smoking cigars. They were, as my father would say “feeling their oats.”

When they got to the front of the line, one of the men set a stack of football tickets on the counter. By this point, I almost expected the other men in the group, who were half-crazed with testosterone and alcohol, to join arms and begin to dance a jig in celebration of their coolness.

The female cashier on the other side of the window looked up slowly. Seeing the stack of football tickets in front of her, she pointed calmly towards the sign. The sign, you will recall, plainly stated that all football bets had to be redeemed in the Sports Book. In other words, she was saying, without saying a word, “Guys, you’re in the wrong line. Turn around and head back to the Sports Book.” .

One of the men, finally understanding the message, replied, “That’s not an MP. That’s a YP.”

The cashier raised an eyebrow, as if to say, “What are you talking about, you fool?”

The man went on, “That’s not my problem, that’s your problem. T
The other three men giggled like school girls, positively giddy over their friend’s hilarious retort.

The cashier said nothing. Slowly, she bent down, reaching under the counter. Slowly, she lifted up a small plastic sign and set it on the counter in front of her. Slowly, she looked up and stared, unflinching, at the male patron. The sign said, “Window Closed.”

next window sign.jpg

The men, stunned and silent for a quick second, realized they’d been kicked out of line and had failed in their mission. Wild with fury, they proceeded to stomp their feet and through their hands in the air, much like the oomp-a-loompas in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

The cashier was, of course, unaffected. Cool as a cucumber, she stood there, behind her sign, staring at them blankly. Unable to get a reaction, the men gave up and stormed off towards the Sports Book.

And the crowd . . . went . . wild.

That may have been one of the funniest, most satisfying things I have ever witnessed. Really. Truly. It was, absolutely, that funny.

Now, you ask, what exactly does this story have to do with litigation, discovery, and Twitter? According to the NYT’s Bits blog, Twitter is working on a feature that would enable users to download their entire personal archive–all of their tweets for the entire life of their account.

If the feature is released, discovery of a litigant’s Twitter account would become far easier–a party would no longer need to subpoena Twitter to produce a user’s past tweets. Instead, the party would make a document request to the other side and, to the extent the tweets are relevant, the litigant receiving the request would be obligated to produce them. The tweets would be, because of the new feature, in the litigant’s “custody, control, or possession.”

To put it differently, the production of past tweets would no longer be an “MP” but, instead, would become a “YP.” Sounds just fine to me.

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