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Discovery of Plaintiff’s Social-Networking Profile

Another interesting article from the Delaware Employment Law Blog concerning the Discovery of Plaintiff’s Social-Networking Profile.Here Molly diBianca reports on the case of Thompson v. Autoliv ASP, Inc., where the plaintiff alleged personal-injury and product-liability claims, arising from a car accident in April 2007. The plaintiff alleged that she sustained significant injuries due to a defective seat belt and airbag. Before making a formal discovery request, the defendant obtained posts and photos from the plaintiff’s publicly available Facebook profile, which, according to the defendant, constituted evidence of her “post-accident social activities, mental state, relationship history, living arrangements, and rehabilitative progress,” all of which were relevant to the underlying claims and defences”.It was reported that the plaintiff subsequently changed the privacy settings on the account so that the information was no longer publicly available. In response, the defendant sought to compel a complete copy of all of the plaintiff’s social-networking accounts from the date of the accident to present.The court granted the defendant’s motion and whilst recognising that “litigation does not permit a complete and open public display of Plaintiff’s life,” the court ordered the plaintiff to upload onto an external storage device “all information from her Facebook and MySpace accounts” from the date of the accident to the present and to provide defense counsel with an “index of redacted social networking site communications.”  

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