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Facebook Postings Barred in Personal Injury Case

Published on 05/20/2011 -

In Piccolo v. Paterson, Judge Albert J. Cepparulo denied the motion from the defendants requesting access to the photos of plaintiff Sara Piccolo that she posted of herself on the social networking site, Facebook.

Piccolo filed an action against the defendants after being injured in a one-car accident while a passenger in a car driven by defendant Lindsay Paterson. Piccolo testified that she had a Facebook account which she posts to daily. Defense attorneys asked if they could send a "neutral friend request" to review those postings, a request which was denied by the plaintiff.

The defense argued that access to Piccolo's Facebook page would provide necessary and relevant information related to the claims by Piccolo and cited a case, McMillen v. Hummingbird Speedway, Inc., in which the court ordered the plaintiff to provide his username and password to the defendant's attorney. The plaintiff's attorney argued that the defense had only asked for the pictures Piccolo posted on Facebook and that they had already been provided with "as complete a photographic record of the pre-accident and post-accident condition" of Piccolo.

From the accident in May 2007, Piccolo suffered lacerations to her lip and chin when hit in the face with an airbag. She had 95 stitches to her face and then surgery to repair her scarring six months later. She is permanently scarred on her face. Piccolo allowed the insurer in 2008 to take photographs of her face and gave the defense 20 photos of her face from the week following the accident and five photos from the months just before the accident.

The court in Jefferson County ruled with the plaintiff, banning the defense access to Piccolo's Facebook page.

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