IN RE FACEBOOK, INC. Case No. C 12-80171 LHK (PSG).
923 F.Supp.2d 1204 (2013)
In re Request for Order Requiring FACEBOOK, INC. to Produce Documents and Things.
United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division.
September 20, 2012.
Timothy L. Alger, Perkins Coie LLP, Palo Alto, Ca, Kevan Fornasero, Perkins Coie LLP, San Francisco, CA, for Facebook, Inc.
ORDER GRANTING FACEBOOK, INC.'S MOTION TO QUASH
PAUL S. GREWAL, United States Magistrate Judge.
On December 20, 2008, Sahar Daftary ("Sahar") died after falling from the twelfth floor of an apartment building located in Manchester, England. As is customary in such a case, the local Coroner's Office is conducting an inquest to determine the circumstances surrounding, and the cause of, her death. Applicants Jawed Karim and Anisa Daftary (collectively, "Applicants") are Sahar's surviving family members and were invited by the Coroner's Office to provide records showing Sahar's state of mind when she died. Sahar apparently had a Facebook account that she used on a regular basis. Applicants dispute that Sahar committed suicide and believe that her Facebook account contains critical evidence showing her actual state of mind in the days leading up to her death. To that end, Applicants filed an ex parte application pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 for leave to subpoena records from her Facebook account for the time period from November 20 to December 11, 2008.
Facebook now moves to quash the subpoena on the grounds that the subpoena violates the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2701, et seq. ("SCA"). Alternatively, Facebook moves for an order establishing Applicants' authority to tender consent on Sahar's behalf and compelling disclosure of Sahar's Facebook records. Applicants oppose. On September 11, 2012, the parties appeared for hearing. Having reviewed the papers and considered the arguments of counsel,
The case law confirms that civil subpoenas may not compel production of records from providers like Facebook. To rule otherwise would run afoul of the "specific [privacy] interests that the [SCA] seeks to protect."
Having agreed with Facebook that the Section 1782 subpoena should be quashed, the court lacks jurisdiction to address whether the Applicants may offer consent on Sahar's behalf so that Facebook may disclose the records voluntarily. Any such ruling would amount to nothing less than an impermissible advisory opinion. Of course, nothing prevents Facebook from concluding on its own that Applicants have standing to consent on Sahar's behalf and providing the requested materials voluntarily.
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