Social Media Details Can Turn into Evidence in Court Cases

Author: Rosenberg & Gluck

Most people never consider that private details exchanged with family and friends in emails, on Facebook, or Myspace could turn into court evidence. Yet, while social media sites and your own emails allow you to be selective about who you invite or who receives your communication, courts have ruled otherwise.

Kathleen Roman v. Steelcase Inc.

The New York Supreme Court allowed defendant access to social media information in the 2010 case, Kathleen Romano v. Steelcase Inc.  The plaintiff, Kathleen Romano sought damages for back and neck injuries she claimed reduced her enjoyment of life. The injuries were caused by a fall from a collapsing chair, sold by Steelcase, a Michigan furniture company. Her claim indicated she was homebound and limited in activities, yet her daughter’s Facebook and Myspace posts discussed that she and her family enjoyed a Florida vacation. The Steelcase insurance company defense counsel motioned to compel the social media pages and the judge allowed it.

Fourth Amendment rights

The Fourth Amendment guarantees people the right to” be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures” without probable cause. The doctor-patient privilege protects communications with physicians, which cannot be used legally against you. The federal Stored Communications Act often protects social networks against turning over personal information.  However, as defense teams find penetrable chinks in the digital armor, people should be wary of what they post and consider the legal perspective.  If you consider pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in New York, consult experienced Long Island car accident attorneys and get further legal advice about social media communications.