Monday, June 27, 2011

No expectation of privacy in the world of Social Media???

Rane Zimmerman recently learned that there is no expectation of privacy in the world of Facebook or MySpace and posting photos there can cost you a lot of unexpected grief and possibly a great deal of money.

While employed by Weis Markets, Inc., Rane  was operating a forklift when he had an accident which caused injuries to his left leg.  Rane claimed lost wages, lost future earning capacity, pain and suffering, scarring and embarrassment  as a result of the accident. 

Attorneys for Weis saw in the public portion of Rane’s Facebook page that his interests included “ridin” and “bike stunts” and his MySpace page contained recent photographs depicting Zimmerman with a black eye and his motorcycle before and after an accident. There were also photographs of Rane wearing shorts clearly displaying his scar from the Weis accident. 

So what's the big deal?  Well, during Rane's deposition he claimed never wears shorts because he is embarrassed by his scar. Based on the contradictory information between Rane's deposition and the publicly available portions of his Facebook and MySpace pages, Weis sought access to the private portions of his MySpace and Facebook accounts by the disclosure of Rane's passwords, user names, and login names.  The request was granted.

The Court found that Rane had voluntarily posted photographs of himself to share with others, therefore cannot now claim a reasonable expectation of privacy. 

Remember Facebook and Myspace websites are public domains.  As Judge Saylor pointed out "By definition, a social networking site is the interactive sharing of your personal life with others; the recipients are not limited in what they do with such knowledge."… "With the initiation of litigation to seek a monetary award based upon limitations or harm to one's person, any relevant, non-privileged information about one's life that is shared with others and can be gleaned by defendants from the Internet is fair game in today's society."

To Review A Full Copy of Judge Saylor's Opinion - CLICK HERE

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