Written by attorney Douglas James Pettibone

Posting on Facebook can be used as evidence in Court

Posting on Facebook can be used as evidence in Court

While there has been recent incidents of termination of employees for postings on Facebook and Facebook postings have been admitted into evidence in Dissolution proceedings involving child custody, a New York judge says Facebook posts can be used as evidence is a Civil Case—even if they are private.

Facebook users may have a new reason to mind their p’s and q’s thanks to a judge’s decision to allow private facebook posts as court evidence.

A case involving a slip and fall injury after falling out of an office chair the Plaintiff filed a lawsuit claiming the chair was defective.

The lawyers for the manufacturer were skeptical of the true injuries citing photos of plaintiff smiling in front of her friends home on the day she claimed to be in a hospital bed. HerFacebook history also revealed she had taken a vacation to Florida just after sustaining the alleged injury.

On these grounds the lawyers sought more evidence from the private areas of her profile.

Facebook refused to produce the records citing privacy. The judge disagreed.

In this case the defense used her public pictures as justification for further investigation.

To argue that anyone who files a court action should expect their private Facebook posts to be breached is not a legally sound interpretation of the law as it would imply that someone has carte blanche right to dig through your personal files regardless of justification. However, where a lawyer can make an argument, as here, that there is justification for breaching someone’s privacy, i.e. impeachment evidence, courts may allow it on a case by case basis.

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