Risk Management

Is Your Facebook Page Discoverable?

The legal discovery of content posted to social networking sites is a topic that continues to be litigated. In some recent medical malpractice and employment liability cases, both plaintiffs and defendants have been forced to defend statements or images posted to personal profiles such as Facebook and Twitter pages, that contradicted sworn testimony.

In a recent decision in Pennsylvania, a judge ruled that “a defendant in a civil action who has a good faith belief that the plaintiff’s Facebook profile contains information that might prove the plaintiff’s injuries do not exist or are exaggerated is entitiled to obtain the Facebook user ID and password.”

For more on the above case, published by the legal firm Post & Schell, download Court Gives Defense Counsel Access to Plaintiff’s Private Facebook Profile using the toolbar above.

Although in this instance the defendant’s case was enhanced by discovered contradictory statements posted online, the situation could also be reversed with damaging information complicating the defense of a case as well. As they say…what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Don’t let your guard down.

Questionable material, even posted to a “private” personal site could be discoverable in a claim against you or your practice and a “game-changer” for your defense team. Be very careful about what is posted and do not assume that your “privacy settings” will protect information that would be damaging to you if it was made public.

See OMIC’s article Social Networking Policy for Your Ophthalmic Practice for tips on how you can protect yourself from this liability.

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