Trials & Litigation

YouTube can be used as 'hammer of justice' even if client has lost in court, lawyer says

It isn’t just in court proceedings that depositions can be useful, a Colorado attorney says.

By posting them on YouTube after his client had already lost in court, he won a secret settlement in one corporate matter, John Pineau tells the Denver Post.

“This is an incredible new hammer of justice,” he said. “It’s really not understating it to say this will change justice around the world.”

Others are interested in Pineau’s take on how social media can be used to harness public opinion to clients’ advantage, including the Boulder County Bar Association, which has asked him to teach a course on the subject.

However, there are potential pitfalls. When posting a deposition on the Web, “the safest way to do it is to go to trial and disclose it afterwards,” Pineau said. “You don’t want to use it in any way as extortion.”

Others question whether the tactic is being used improperly, at least in some cases. Among this group is Edward Ramey, a Denver attorney who has a motion pending in Pitkin County Court asking for an order prohibiting the plaintiff from posting videotaped depositions on YouTube in a pro se libel case, the newspaper reports.

The plaintiff, a former ski company employee, has sued his ex-boss and plans to post depositions to embarrass him and his family, Ramey said.

Depositions, he notes, “are not supposed to be vehicles for ridicule, harassment and attempts to humiliate a witness.”

See also “No Sanction for Lawyer Who Told Billionaire ‘I’m Not a Busboy’ in Filed Deposition” “Was well-known lawyer’s demand letter ‘extortion’? Appeals court to hear arguments on judge’s ruling”

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