The Florida District Court of Appeal, Second District quashed an order requiring the mother of a vehicle accident victim to produce copies of certain postings on her Facebook account.
In Root v. Balfour Beatty Constr., LLC, the plaintiff, Tonia Root (“plaintiff”) filed a negligence suit against the city and its contractors following an accident where her toddler was struck by a vehicle near a construction site. During discovery, defendants sought the production of plaintiff’s Facebook postings relating to plaintiff’s children, plaintiff’s mental health and stress, and counseling that plaintiff may have obtained before or after the accident. Ultimately, the circuit court ordered plaintiff to produce the Facebook postings.
On review, the Florida District Court of Appeal, Second Circuit quashed the order, finding that the posts are irrelevant to plaintiff’s claims. Specifically, the appellate court held the Facebook discovery requested did not pertain to the accident, the negligence claim or plaintiff’s claims for loss of consortium. The court characterized the discovery as a “fishing expedition.”
Ultimately, the discovery of social media content is an essential, but often precarious, undertaking which will turn on the legal precedent in your jurisdiction. For example, states like New York, New Jersey, Indiana, and Kentucky have addressed issues of this nature to various outcomes.