The Recent Liverman Case Should Scare All Government Attorneys and Department Heads
4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals: Vague Social Media Policy
Leads To 4.7 Million Dollar Settlement
 
No More "Qualified Immunity"
Policymakers Are Now Personally Liable  
This Liverman v. City of Petersburg, VA case is making government attorneys very nervous! 

Social media policies are no longer just about employment law issues, they are broadcasting contracts. You must quickly have a social media law expert audit your policy.

According to court documents, this is a case of being penny wise and pound foolish:
  • The in-house attorney who wrote the policy didn't specialize in social media law.
  • The attorney relied on seminars that focus on employment law, not social media law.
  • The attorney relied on boilerplate policies from other organizations.
  • The attorney attended my course after the lawsuit had been filed.
Myth #1
You can copy a social media policy template from a reputable association or another organization.
TRUTH
Most social media templates are: 
  • Overbroad, vague 
  • Aren't written by specialists in social media law
  • The policy often omits key issues 
  • 97% of model policies don't comply with the U.S. Supreme Court "operational realities" rule.
In the past, policymakers could claim qualified immunity for social media mistakes by stating that the law was unsettled or had "gray areas". The affirmative defense of "qualified immunity" would scare off potential plaintiffs.

Those days are gone, your personal assets are now exposed...
  • The Liverman court rejects the "gray areas" or unsettled law argument.
  • The court says First Amendment law is well established.
  • No more claims of "qualified immunity", you are personally liable.
  • One poorly written paragraph can cost your employer millions in legal damages.
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