Consumer Abuse – “Like” a Company’s Page; Give Up Your Rights!

April 18, 2014

Consumer Abuse

Consumer Abuse

At first, I thought this was a joke, or an article from Onion. I could not fathom that in fact it was real and General Mills really, in fact, is making an attempt to force it’ s customers to give up their right to sue for negligence… simply by “liking” their Facebook page or even perhaps by simply buying their products!

General Mills, the maker of cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker, has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, “join” it in online communities like Facebook, enter a company-sponsored sweepstakes or contest or interact with it in a variety of other ways.

Instead, anyone who has received anything that could be construed as a benefit and who then has a dispute with the company over its products will have to use informal negotiation via email or go through arbitration to seek relief, according to the new terms posted on its site.

In language added on Tuesday after The New York Times contacted it about the changes, General Mills seemed to go even further, suggesting that buying its products would bind consumers to those terms.

“We’ve updated our privacy policy,” the company wrote in a thin, gray bar across the top of its home page. “Please note we also have new legal terms which require all disputes related to the purchase or use of any General Mills product or service to be resolved through binding arbitration.”

via When ‘Liking’ a Brand Online Voids the Right to Sue – NYTimes.com.

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Facebook and Rules of Discovery – Trend Is Toward Full Disclosure

April 10, 2014

Facebook

Facebook

A New Jersey Facebook ruling means online posts may be used as evidence against a party. During before and after a personal injury cause of action is commenced, it is important to remember that anything you say and/or do may be used against you. It is important that you mind what you put in the public. While Illinois Courts have not yet had the opportunity to digest the issues represented by Facebook, it would not be surprising if a Court allows, at the very least, a limited inquiry about specific posts a plaintiff and/or defendant has made that may be used as an admission against interest. Best practice, of course, is not to mention anything about any ongoing litigation in any post whatsoever.

“Parents warn their teenagers about Internet dangers, from cyber bullying to potential predators, but may not realize the personal legal risks they face themselves when using social media such as Facebook and Twitter. A recent federal court in New Jersey has ruled online posts may be discoverable as evidence in some legal cases…

The ruling by a Magistrate Judge with the United States District Court in the District of New Jersey has taken a big step toward the forced disclosure of online social media postings as possible evidence in court cases and lawsuits. Specifically, content posted to social media websites may be considered evidence and is subject to the same laws against evidence tampering as physical documents.

In the case of Gatto v. United Airlines and Allied Aviation Services, Frank Gatto, a former baggage handler at John F. Kennedy Airport, sued United Airlines and Allied Aviation Services for damages following a workplace-related injury which he claimed left him permanently disabled, impairing his ability to work or engage in social activities.” The defendants “sought authorization to access Gatto’s Facebook data,” and a judge authorized the access directly through Gatto’s login. “Gatto had deactivated his Facebook account and it’s contents were automatically deleted after 14 days.” A judge “ruled that deletion of data in Gatto’s Facebook account constituted ‘spoliation of evidence,’” which “resulted in an adverse inference against Gatto.”

http://www.ereleases.com/pr/jersey-federal-court-rules-facebook-posts-evidence-144429

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Motor Vehicle Accident – Distracted driving kills more than drunk driving

April 4, 2014

Distracted driving is killing more British Columbians than impaired driving and Attorney General Suzanne Anton said Wednesday the government is considering higher fines and penalties to put the brakes on the carnage.

Anton said it doesn’t appear British Columbians are getting the message that distracted driving is deadly, and along with increased penalties she’s considering public education campaigns similar to previous initiatives targeting seatbelt use and drinking and driving.

“Distracted driving is a very serious problem in B.C.,” she said. “In 2012, we had 81 deaths, and that’s 81 families who have terrible tragedy in their lives. Compared to drinking and driving there were about 55 drinking and driving deaths in 2012. It’s remarkable distracted driving is causing more tragedies right now than drinking and driving is.”

via Distracted driving kills more than drunk driving, B.C. considers higher fines | GlobalPost.

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