Even if you really, really, really enjoy sharing with hundreds of your closest friends what's been going on with you lately, think twice! And if you're involved in litigation of any kind (divorce, custody, personal injury, anything), stay away from Facebook, period. Even with the highest privacy settings, your personal thoughts, photos, statements, comments on others' pages and other information could be fodder against you in a lawsuit in ways you might not have even considered.
Another court in Pennsylvania has ruled that there's no expectation of privacy in a lawsuit from information shared on Facebook, even if the user's profile is private. In a recent case, a Franklin County, PA judge ordered a personal injury plaintiff to turn over to defense counsel her Facebook status postings and photos which demonstrated a potential contradiction to the
injuries she alleged in her car accident lawsuit. In the case, the judge ruled that there was little expectation of privacy on a social networking site as the point of the website is to
share; even if the user set the highest privacy settings on her profile.
The plaintiff argued that allowing the defense to have access to her Facebook information was the same as letting them comb through her personal mail and photograph albums. The judge rejected the argument stating that any photos posted on Facebook are not private and information on Facebook is not like personal mail delivered to one's home. Further, the judge ruled that the plaintiff did not specifiy any information disclosed would cause undue embarassment, and gathering information from Facebook was one of the least burdensome methods to conduct discovery.
Of course, this isn't a Georgia court opinion but this is a fast-growing body of law and these discovery requests and disputes aren't so uncommon any longer. When faced with a decision on the admissibility of relevant information from Facebook, judges will look to other states and other judicial opinions for guidance. You can bet that the trend is towards disclosure and not for privacy.
Speaking of Facebook, our firm Facebook page is meant to educate and connect with our clients, friends, and anyone seeking information about our firm and personal injury law.