As discussed in a prior blog post, social media investigations can play a large role in a lawsuit. Recently, a defense law firm has been charged with alleged inappropriate activity using Facebook to obtain information about a plaintiff.
The plaintiff in the matter was a twelve-year old girl who was bitten by a dog and filed a lawsuit as a result of the injuries suffered from the bite. The Ohio-based firm allegedly hired an investigator who posed as one of the plaintiff’s friends on Facebook The private investigator posed as one of the plaintiff’s friends by illegitimately obtaining the individual’s Facebook login user name and password. Without authorization, the investigator further posed as the “friend” on Facebook to gain access to the plaintiff’s Facebook page.
By posing as the plaintiff’s friend, the investigator obtained all of the plaintiff’s private information and posted messages and pictures. This conduct resulted in a separate lawsuit filed against the defense lawyer, its investigator and the insurance company. If the allegations are true, numerous ethical violations may have occurred.
While this case shows the extremes that may be taken using social media to obtain information about a plaintiff, one must always be careful about what information to post when using social media.
Michael Donahue is a Shareholder and in the firm's Lawrenceville, New Jersey office, concentrating in Accident & Personal Injury Law. For more information, please contact Mr. Donahue.