A Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer Report
A personal injury plaintiff in a Pennsylvania car accident lawsuit is not required to accept a “friend” request on Facebook from the auto accident defendant so the defendant can have full access to the personal injury victim’s postings and pictures, a Bucks County Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court judge has recently decided.
In Piccolo v. Paterson, Judge Albert J. Cepparulo in a one-paragraph order, denied the “motion to compel” filed by car accident defendants and Allstate, their auto accident insurance company.
The defendants wanted access to the photos of the car accident victim that she posted of herself on Facebook. According to Pennsylvania court documents, the personal injury victim filed a car accident lawsuit against the defendant after she was injured in a Pennsylvania car accident while she was a passenger in a car driven by the defendant.
The defense filed a motion based on the victim’s deposition testimony wherein she testified that she had a Facebook account, but said that she would not allow the attorneys to “friend” her so they could see everything she posted.
In support of their argument, the Allstate insurance lawyers pointed to a trial court opinion in which the court held Facebook postings were discoverable and ordered the plaintiff to provide his username and password to the injury accident attorney. The defense argued access to Piccolo’s Facebook page would provide necessary and relevant information related to the claims by Piccolo.
Facebook Postings Barred from Discovery-Discussion
Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 4011(b), precludes discovery that would cause unreasonable annoyance, embarrassment, oppression or burden in personal injury accident lawsuits. Here, allowing such access would run far afield of this important rule, and would certainly be too intrusive and burdensome.
I always tell my clients: DO NOT, after a personal injury accident, post ANYTHING regarding that accident on ANY social media.