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New York Court of Appeals clarifies disclosure standard for social media.

April 1, 2018
Forman v. Henkin, 2018 NY Slip Op 01015 (2018)

The New York Court of Appeals clarified prior opinions regarding disclosure of social media accounts in personal injury actions. Prior precedent stated a party must show that there was relevant material on the social media account by demonstrating that the material was shown on the public portions of the social media site. However, the Court of Appeals held that this approach was overly restrictive because it limited disclosure to only those cases where the plaintiff’s profile was public, allowing a plaintiff to prohibit disclosure merely by changing his or her settings to private. The court also said that commencement of a personal injury action does not render the entire social media account discoverable. Rather, discovery orders should consider the nature of the underlying incident, the injuries claimed, temporal limitations, and ensure that the disclosure does not include sensitive or embarrassing material that is of marginal relevance. The opinion is open to interpretation by the lower courts, and we are sure to see more litigation on this issue in the future. Importantly, it opens the door to more social media discovery by rejecting precedent stating that public materials from a social media profile were needed to show a basis for discovery. 


Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 2018

Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2018 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

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