Social Media Increasingly Being Used As Evidence In Trials

We've said it before and we'll likely say it again...there is no privacy on the internet.  Don't write anything on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, your blog, etc that you wouldn't want your boss, your mom and a possible jury of your peers to see.  Just don't do it.

Our most recently example is being dubbed by some as the "MySpace Case" (yes I was surprised to learn people still used MySpace too).  The case was a personal injury case involving a car accident in which a woman was found liable in a collision thanks to her social media postings.

Defense counsel denied the Defendant was intoxicated, with the defense toxicology expert testifying there was no proper chain of custody for the blood sample used in the test and the hospital reported Defendant had normal neurological findings and alertness. The plaintiffs' toxicology expert testified the hospital's clinical testing procedures were sound and the alertness and neurological findings were consistent with Defendant being a heavy drinker with a tolerance for alcohol.  If that had been the end of it the Defendant likely would have prevailed.  But it wasn't....

Plaintiff's counsel produced printouts of the Defendant's MySpace page with entries before and after the collision which included references to regular alcohol use, her good friend Captain Morgan (rum), and frequent hangovers. In the end the jury found the Defendant 95 percent liable for the collision and that the Defendant had been grossly negligent. The plaintiffs were awarded $608,212.  (I'm pretty sure that is actually more than MySpace is currently worth.)

So bottom line is, again, stop treating social media like your private secret diary.  It isn't.  As "private" conversations and "private" jokes go increasingly online they become increasingly less private.  Keep it in mind the next time you log in.

Source: Houston Press Blogs

Related: Court Orders Plaintiff to Turn Over Pictures and Messages from Facebook