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Facebook Evidence May Be Discoverable: Ask For It! (Preserve It!)

[May 13, 2013]  A federal judge in New Jersey recently sanctioned a plaintiff for deleting his Facebook account, which purportedly contained photographs and other information that contradicted his personal injury claims against the defendants.

The plaintiff had agreed, as part of discovery, to provide the contents of his Facebook account.  Instead, he deleted it.

As a sanction, the court agreed to provide a spoliation instruction at the trial, instructing the jury that it may draw an adverse inference from the plaintiff’s destruction of the evidence.

The decision serves as a reminder that employers should seek discovery of from the Facebook and other social media accounts of plaintiffs in employment litigation.  (Ask for it!)

It is also a reminder to businesses that they must ensure that their managers and other decision-makers do not destroy such evidence, if it exists.  (Preserve it!)