A federal court in New York recently denied a summary judgment motion in a workplace injury case that once more highlights how social media can play a role in all sorts of litigation. Kerwin Vasquez worked for the Metro-North Commuter Railroad. He apparently injured his wrist while on the job. Upon his return to work, he claims his supervisor negligently directed him to perform tasks that made his wrist injury worse.

And that may be the case. But Vasquez didn’t help his cause much when he posted pictures on Facebook during the same time period showing him weightlifting and using his wrists to support himself. Metro-North argued this evidence required the court to award it summary judgment on Vasquez’s claims. 

The court denied the motion, apparently adopting Vasquez’s argument that even though he was able to engage in the activities shown on Facebook, he was still in pain. And I suppose his willingness to adopt a “no pain no gain” attitude in the gym doesn’t give his employer the right to make him do activities that worsen his condition at work. Still.

The judge’s ruling means only that a jury will hear Vazquez’s claim. And I bet those Facebook photos will be a big part of Metro-North’s evidence. And Kerwin may want to familiarize himself with Facebook’s privacy settings.