Case Study: 0015

Social Media Information, LLCCase Study

Case Study 0015 - Hamburger and fries in a red basket.

National Fast-Food Chain Faces Class Action Lawsuit

Market: Legal
Client: National Law Firm
Service: Litigation Support

Challenge

When a national fast-food chain faced a class action lawsuit, their legal counsel turned to social media information to verify the eligibility of the lawsuit’s participants.

The lawsuit was being brought by a firm representing current and former employees of the restaurant chain. The participants claimed that the employer had falsely classified employees as management in order to avoid paying overtime wages. While the company’s legal team couldn’t contradict the allegations, they sought to eliminate some of the participants’ involvement, thereby reducing any monetary settlement.

SMI was asked to locate all of the participants’ social media profiles and discover any publicly available content which pertaining to their employment with the fast-food chain.

Solution

Using a mixture of traditional and digital identifiers, our analysts were able to locate LinkedIn profiles for the majority of the participants in the lawsuit. Our analyst then compared the information shared on social media with the information provided to the court:

  • A timeline for their employment. (Evidence that the participant did not work for the restaurant chain during the period being considered by the lawsuit.)
  • Their job title during employment. (Evidence that the participant claimed a management title.)
  • A description of their duties. (Evidence that the participant assumed duties often associated with a management role. For instance, the subject claimed to be responsible for staffing decisions.)

Our analysts preserved all of the participants’ social media profiles and communicated the results of our investigation to the defense team. The report designated the participants into three categories: evidence verifies participation, evidence disputes participation, and inconclusive social media evidence. Receiving actionable intelligence meant that the fast-food chain’s legal counsel could focus their resources on disproving the eligibility of a few dubious participants.

Outcome

Based on the social media information discovered by our analysts, the restaurant’s legal counsel were able to quickly screen the participants of the class action lawsuit. This spared the fast-food chain thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal expenses and reduced the burden of settling the lawsuit.

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