Access to Facebook Photos Trumps Right of Privacy in Florida Personal Injury Case

Hot off the presses…In an opinion dated January 7, 2014, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals denied the plaintiff’s petition for certiorari relief to quash an order compelling discovery of her Facebook photos in a case in which she is alleging injuries as a result of a slip and fall in a Target store. The defendant moved to compel discovery after noticing that the plaintiff had 36 less photo’s on her Facebook profile two days after she was deposed and asked questions about her Facebook profile.

The court held, “We agree with those cases concluding that, generally, the photographs posted on a social networking site are neither privileged nor protected by any right of privacy, regardless of any privacy settings that the user may have established.”  It further found that the defendant’s request was narrow in scope such that it was calculated to lead to admissible evidence.

The court poetically observed:

From testimony alone, it is often difficult for the fact-finder to grasp what a plaintiff’s life was like prior to an accident. It would take a great novelist, a Tolstoy, a Dickens, or a Hemingway, to use words to summarize the totality of a prior life. If a photograph is worth a thousand words, there is no better portrayal of what an individual’s life was like than those photographs the individual has chosen to share through social media before the occurrence of an accident causing injury. 

To read the opinion click here. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *