Monday, December 3, 2012
Social Media Discovery Allowed in Monroe County Personal Injury Case
In what appears to be the latest decision on the issue of social media discovery, under a November 7, 2012 Order issued in the case of Mazzarella v. Mount Airy Casino Resort, No. 1798 Civil 2009, 2012 WL 6000678 (C.P. Monroe Co. Nov. 7, 2012 Williamson, J.), Judge David J. Williamson of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas granted a defendant's motion to compel the plaintiff to allow for social media discovery.
I have been advised that Mazzarella involves a premises liability slip and fall case.
In his detailed two-paged Order, Judge Williamson reasoned that the plaintiff's expectation of privacy in her social media activity was "misplaced" as "[t]hose who elect to use social media, and place things on the internet for viewing, sharing and use with others, waives an expectation of privacy." Accordingly, the court ruled that "[a]t this point, the information requested is not a privacy violation."
Thus, the plaintiff was ordered to respond to the defendant's discovery request in this regard. While the Order itself does not say so, I have been advised that the discovery request called for the production of the plaintiff's user name and password and there was no time limit placed on the access granted to the plaintiff's social media sites.
This Order from Mazzarella can be viewed HERE.
I send thanks to Attorney John Bednarz, Jr., a solo practitioner in Wilkes-Barre, PA, for bringing this decision to my attention.
Please also remember that you can check out and access other Social Media Discovery decisions on the Tort Talk Facebook Discovery page at this LINK.
The Facebook Discovery Scorecard is also always freely accessible by going to www.TortTalk.com and scrolling down the right hand side of the blog and clicking on the date under "Facebook Discovery Scorecard." Once you get to that Scorecard, you can click on the case names of the decisions noted to access the Opinions or Orders online.