Is social network information discoverable in personal injury cases? This is an issue which is developing and being addressed by the various trial courts around the country. Central Pennsylvania courts are seeing their share of motions on the issue.
Last week, the Court of Common Pleas in Franklin County, Pennsylvania in Arcq v. Fields et al, No. 2008-2430 (Herman J. Franklin Co. Dec. 7, 2011) addressed the issue regarding the discoverability of a Plaintiff’s social network profile and information. After filing a lawsuit as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident, the Plaintiff objected to interrogatories seeking social network information by arguing that the materials are not relevant and the Plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy to such information. The Defendants argued that under other trial court cases, and one from the same court, the information is discoverable.
The trial court finds that there is one glaring difference the present case has from the others, and that is that the request of the Defendants in Arcq is not the result of viewing the public portion of the Plaintiff’s profile. In the other cases the Defendants viewed the Plaintiff’s public portion of the profile and then had reason to request the private portions of the social website. In Arcq, the Defendants made no such showing. Thus, the trial court denies the Defendants’ Motion.
For a copy of the opinion please contact Scott Cooper at SchmidtKramer Injury lawyers.
Scott B. Cooper
Schmidt Kramer PC
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Harrisburg, PA 17101
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