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Monday, September 27, 2010

Judge Grants Discovery of Facebook, MySpace Posts

SUFFOLK COUNTY, NEW YORK – A judge in New York has ruled that personal injury plaintiff Kathleen Romano must allow the court access to private postings on Facebook and MySpace that may contradict her previous testimony. Romano is suing Steelcase Inc., manufacturers of the office chair that Romano fell off in 2003 while working at Stony Brook University, for damages for personal injuries. She claims that the chair was a defective product and caused her "serious permanent personal injuries," including herniated discs, restricted neck and back motion, and "pain and progressive deterioration with consequential loss of enjoyment of life."

The defendant, Steelcase, says that the public sections of Romano's Facebook and MySpace profiles suggest that Romano has an "active lifestyle" and does activities she has claimed that her injuries prevent her from doing. Acting Justice Jeffrey Arlen Spinner of New York's Suffolk County Supreme Court has ruled in the defendant's favor, stating that Romano may not withhold material necessary to the defense because she has placed her physical condition in controversy. Romano's lawyer has said that she is considering an appeal of the decision.

This case is a reminder of the inherently public nature of social media networks, even with self-regulated privacy settings available. This decision may or may not influence personal injury and product liability lawsuits in other states, but should serve as a warning to plaintiffs not to post information or photos damaging to their cases. If you are pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, the experienced personal injury attorneys of The Cochran Firm will help you understand how to protect yourself from similar problems.

If you have been injured by a defective product or by someone else's negligence, please contact The Cochran Firm today to find out about your legal options.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 3:29 PM

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