A Florida court recently ruled that a plaintiff who made a claim against a Target retail store for injuries was required to turn over five years' worth of photographs to the defense attorneys representing the big-box retailer. Some legal experts feel this case drives home the point that an injured plaintiff's have no real expectation to a right of privacy for information that exists in the social media universe.
In this particular case, the plaintiff slipped on a substance on the floor of a Target store. As result of the injury, the plaintiff required neck surgery, and after filing suit, objected to a request from the defendants seeking disclosure of any Facebook photographs. Apparently, there was a discrepancy over the number of photographs that had been posted to the page.
On appeal, the plaintiff argued that she had a reasonable expectation that the photographs were private, claiming that because she was able to use a privacy setting on Facebook that prevented the general public from seeing the photographs, she should not have to turn these photographs over to the attorneys representing Target. However, the court concluded that even with the privacy settings, plaintiff's expectation of privacy was minimal when compared to the defendant's right to obtain information that could lead to relevant evidence at a trial.
This is, according to legal commentators, becoming the "new normal" in injury litigation. We advise all of our clients not to post any information regarding a pending claim on any social media site.
If you have questions about an injury case, and wonder what information you must provide to an insurance company, or an adjuster, call us at 503-325-8600. We deal with these issues every day, and can help you understand the process.