Insurance companies and their lawyers are aware that people use social networking sites. We have seen an increase lately in requests by insurance companies, through their attorneys, for the content within an individual’s Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites. The insurance companies and their attorneys argue that the content within these sites may give information to question the severity of the injuries or the day to day activities of the injured worker.
Most recently, this issue has been brought before the Courts, and in the case of Romano v. Steelcase, Inc., the Court entered an Order requiring the production of Facebook content even though the content was originally marked as private within the website settings. Judge Spinner basically stated that the information on the Facebook account was material and necessary to the lawsuit; the injured worker did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in information they published on Facebook, regardless of the settings; and that the need for this information by the insurance company outweighed the privacy concerns of the injured person. The Court required the documentation to be turned over as it found the information request was material and necessary, thus requiring the disclosure of Aany facts bearing on the controversy which will assist preparation for trial by sharpening the issues and reducing delay and prolixity. Thus, if an insurance company can show that an injured workers’ Facebook page, Twitter account, or other social media site offers relevant information that the Court should consider, the Court may enter an Order requiring you to provide a copy of the entire account, even previously deleted materials or materials subject to privacy setting.
Thus, based on the foregoing, we strongly urge you to avoid social networking sites altogether. However, if social networking sites are your method of communication please make sure that your content does not put you in a conflict or challenge or affect your credibility as it relates to your claim for the injuries you sustained in the course and scope of your employment, for which we are representing you.
Lastly, at a recent seminar, the question of the confidentiality of attorney/client correspondence was discussed. All emails to and from our office should be treated as if they were letters; they should not be shared or forwarded to anyone. The forwarding of an email eliminates the protection of attorney/client privilege and makes that email discoverable by the insurance company. You should not forward any emails you receive from us to anyone, nor should you copy anyone on any email you send to us.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]