Attorney in Facebook Spoliation Case Suffers a Five-Year Suspension

Virginia attorney Matthew B. Murray agreed to a five-year suspension last month in a case which stems from advice to his client to “clean up” his Facebook page in response to a discovery request.  According to the post-trial order in the case, Murray instructed his paralegal to tell his client, Isaiah Lester, to clean up his Facebook page after opposing counsel sought a copy of the Facebook account in discovery and attached a damaging photo from Lester’s page.  Lester originally deactivated his Facebook page in accordance with Murray’s instruction, but then later in the case, upon Murray’s instruction, reactivated it; however, apparently unbeknownst to Murray, deleted sixteen photos before  the screen shots were provided to opposing counsel.

After post-trial motions, Murray and his client were ordered to pay $722,000 in attorney’s fees to the defendants. (Murray’s portion was approximately $522,000)  The trial judge contacted the Virginia State Bar.  The suspension notice indicates that Murray violated professional ethics rules including candor toward the tribunal, fairness to opposing party and counsel, and misconduct.

To read more click here and read our previous post on the Lester case here.

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