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New York State’s Highest Court Considers Discovery of Private Facebook Materials

Monday, March 12, 2018   (0 Comments)
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New York State’s Highest Court Considers Discovery of Private Facebook Materials
In Forman v. Henkin, the New York State Court of Appeals weighs in on the discoverability of private Facebook photos and messages

by Matthew Verga, JD,
Xact Data Discovery

In the personal injury case of Forman v. Henkin, 2018 NY Slip Op 01015 (N.Y. Feb. 13, 2018), the Plaintiff alleged “that she was injured when she fell from a horse owned by defendant, suffering spinal and traumatic brain injuries resulting in cognitive deficits, memory loss, difficulties with written and oral communication, and social isolation.”  In deposition testimony, the Plaintiff indicated she used to be an active Facebook user who posted many photographs of her activities, but that she had “deactivated the account about six months after the accident and could not recall whether any post-accident photographs were posted.”

 

Defendant’s Request for Facebook Materials

Based on this testimony, the Defendant requested access to all of the private materials in the Plaintiff’s Facebook account, “contending the photographs and written postings would be material and necessary to his defense of the action” under the relevant New York State rules.  The Plaintiff did not provide the requested access, and the Defendant moved to compel, “asserting that the Facebook material sought was relevant to the scope of plaintiff's injuries and her credibility.”  


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