A Top Philly Lawyer Discusses Facebook and Eye Injury Litigation
Facebook and Eye Injury Litigation
I attended a fascinating motion court hearing last week and got to listen in to an argument involving Facebook. The insurance company’s lawyer filed a motion requesting that the court order the plaintiff to turn over his Facebook password! It seems that the plaintiff’s public page showed him diving into a swimming pool. Given his claims of injury to his eye, this interested the insurance company. The plaintiff’s lawyer argued that this photo did not justify such an invasion of privacy. The judge listened carefully to the arguments and then granted the motion. The plaintiff has to turn over his password.
Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter continue to grow. These sites have tools to maintain privacy. But online content is not truly private, especially when one becomes a litigant.
Facebook permits access to one’s information through the “friending” process. You should only “friend” people you know. If you indiscriminately accept “friends”, you may open the door to an important loss of your privacy. What is to stop an insurance adjuster from “friending” a claimant in order to gather information? Ethics?
Smart attorneys use Google and other search tools for many reasons. If a party to litigation has posted anything relevant to the litigation, it may become evidence at trial. Your online content allows others into your world. This may give the opposition insights into your personality that can work against you.
Never post anything on the Internet that could some day embarrass you. Smart employers run Internet searches on prospective employees. If they find inappropriate words in your name or photos, you are unlikely to get the job.
All parents must teach their children that what goes online never really goes away. Now more than ever you must watch how you and family members conduct yourselves online.
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