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Miraldi & Barrett Co., LPA

Trial Court Excludes Photographs From Plaintiff's Facebook Page

Many insurance companies are trolling the Facebook pages of persons suing for personal injuries. They do this to find evidence of activities that are inconsistent with the claimed injuries.

In a recent case in Sandusky, Ohio, a woman was injured when she slipped in debris at a store and injured her back. She testified at trial that she could not attend as many events as she had in the past and when she did, she was not as active. The defense sought to introduce photographs of the plaintiff from her Facebook page showing her at a wedding, her son’s wrestling match, and at the zoo. The defense attorney cross-examined the plaintiff on these points and she conceded that she had attended these events. However, when the defense attorney tried to get the photographs into evidence, the trial court excluded them.

The appellate court indicated that it was up to the trial court to decide whether to admit the photographs and the court had great latitude on this point. Because the photographs’ value was questionable, the court of appeals did not reverse the trial court’s decision. However, it would have been equally reasonable for the trial court to allow them into the evidence. If the plaintiff had denied going to these events or claimed that she was not physically able to attend, the photographs likely would have been admitted.

Again, this case shows how important it is for plaintiffs not to post information in Face Book when they are involved in litigation. For more information, please read the case of Townsend v. Dollar General Corporation.