April 10, 2014
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.”
January 7, 2010
the US Chamber of Commerce has consistently engaged in disseminating false information to the masses. At some point they should stop doing that.
A spokesman for the Chamber, Mark Szymanski, told us the ad began airing “nationally” in late December and will continue to air until the end of January. But he would not disclose the amount of money the Chamber Institute for Legal Reform is spending on the ad.
Szymanski said the source for the ad’s claim is an October 2005 study, “Impact of Litigation on Small Businesses,” conducted for the Small Business Administration by Klemm Analysis Group Inc. of Washington, D.C. But that report says nothing of the sort. In fact, it found that less than 15 percent of federal lawsuits target any business entity at all, and that roughly half of those, or fewer, involved small businesses.
This is not the first time we’ve caught the Chamber making an inflated claim about the impact of lawsuits.