Personal Injury Plaintiff’s Facebook Photos Subject to Discovery, Holds Florida Court

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According to Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.280(b)(1), discovery requests in Florida must be at least reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. The court reasoned that, since the plaintiff was seeking “intangible” damages, the defendant had the right to examine the quality of the plaintiff’s life before and after the accident. Therefore, the defendant’s request was not overly broad.

With regard to the plaintiff’s privacy argument, the court held that the plaintiff’s minimal privacy interest was outweighed by the photos’ relevance. The Florida Constitution provides a right to privacy, but the person asserting it must have a reasonable expectation of privacy before it attaches.

The court determined that photos posted on Facebook and other social media sites are not protected by that right, regardless of the person’s account settings. The court reasoned that a photo posted to a social media account is widely viewable — even if the person posting the photo allows only “friends” to view it — because people with access to the photo can disseminate it at their will. Therefore, any expectation of privacy is unreasonable. The photos’ relevance outweighed what little privacy right the plaintiff had.

Many experienced attorneys advise their clients to use caution when posting on social media, since courts have eroded any expectation of privacy with regard to content on these sites. The Southwest Florida injury attorneys at Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano can help you if you were injured by another person or company’s negligence in Cape Coral or elsewhere. We have the knowledge and experience to work up your case from beginning to end, and we can advise you on things such as what you can expect in terms of social media privacy. To talk to an attorney, call (800) 238-7442.

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Florida Court of Appeal Orders New Trial in Motorcycle Accident Case Due to Evidentiary Issues, January 6, 2015

Photograph by Ruth Suehle, distributed under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

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