Thursday, November 17, 2011

Latest Trial Court Allowing Discovery of Facebook Material

Judge Richard J. Walsh of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas is the latest Pennsylvania trial court judge to allow a defendant to view a plaintiff's Facebook page as part of discovery in a personal injury civil litigation matter.

In Largent v. Reed, No. 2009-1823 (C.P. Franklin Co. Nov. 7, 2011 Walsh, J.) Judge Walsh issued an excellently written opinion outlining the current status of the law and coming down in favor of disclosure of the information requested.

This case arose out of a motor vehicle accident.  When the defense requested access to the plaintiff's Facebook page, the plaintiff refused.  The defense filed a motion to compel.

After reviewing the pertinent law both outside and inside the Commonwealth, Judge Walsh ruled that the information was discoverable as being relevant and not privileged.  The court also rejected the plaintiff's contention that the discovery request was overbroad, would cause unreasonable embarrassment, or unreasonable annoyance.

The Court ordered the plaintiff to provide the defense with the necessary login information to enable the defense to view the plaintiff's Facebook profile for 21 days from the date of the court's Order.  The plaintiff was granted permission to change her Facebook password thereafter to prevent further access to the profile.

The prevailing defense attorneys in this case were Attorneys Donald L. Carmelite and Allison Domday from the Harriburg office of Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Googin.

Anyone desiring a copy of the case of Largent v. Reed may contact me at

To view other Tort Talk posts on the topic of social media civil litigation issues, click here.

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