June 8, 2018
Social media has become a part of daily life. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other services allow us to stay connected with family and friends. However, sometimes people forget that what they post is not only being viewed by family and friends. It may become evidence in a lawsuit. One of the new and fascinating areas of the law is to what extent a litigant’s Facebook and other accounts are discoverable and admissible in a lawsuit. Imagine a Defendant in an auto accident case posting on Facebook a photo of himself at a bar an hour before an accident. He is holding a beer and having a great time. He leaves the bar and runs a red light, causing an accident. At the Defendant’s deposition he is asked if he had anything to drink in the hours before the accident. The attorney for the Plaintiff is ready to show the Defendant the Facebook post if the Defendant has forgotten the events of the evening. Another example is a Plaintiff in an auto accident case who posts on Instagram a photo of herself crossing the finish line in a half marathon. You can rest assured the defense counsel will show that photo to the jury when arguing the Plaintiff is clearly healthy enough to run thirteen miles and not deserving of a large award of damages. Often a case can turn on a single piece of evidence. And often the evidence is found on social media.