South Carolina Lawyer
SC Lawyer, March 2009, #5.
The Danger of Self-inflicted Damage on the Web. How the opposition can use your clients' own Web sites against them
South Carolina LawyerMarch 2009The Danger of Self-inflicted Damage on the Web. How the opposition can use your clients' own Web sites against themBy Don P. PalermoI would like to related a recent experience that our law firm had involving a young female client who was seriously injured. My hope here is that other plaintiff's lawyers will be on the lookout for the same potential problems and pitfalls.
Our case arose from a motor vehicle accident in which our client (we'll call her "Sue") was operating a small sports car that was violently impacted by a package delivery truck that had failed to yield the right of way. Sue's vehicle was knocked across the intersection and onto the sidewalk, where a street sign that had been torn off by the delivery track landed on the hood of her car. Sue was taken by ambulance to the emergency room and was placed in halo device for a fracture of her cervical spine. Sue also fractured her wrist and ankle and underwent surgeries to install plates and screws in those areas of her body. She later underwent an operation to remove the hardware from her ankle. She remained in a halo for two months and lost a significant amount of weight. Obviously she lost tome from work due to her injuries and was unable to return to her position full time as a result of the pain she experienced in her ankle from standing for long periods of time. She was left with scars from her surgeries. Clearly, Sue suffered several serious injuries.
As most attorneys probably do, particularly with significant personal injury cases, we warned out client to be on the lookout for surveillance vehicles once she was out of her halo and able to leave her house. After all, who has not been given surveillance tapes of a client the day before a jury trial? However, what we did not anticipate, and what some attorneys who have been practicing for a long period of time may also not expect, was the effect that such online Web sites as MySpace and Facebook can have on a case.
Facebook, MySpace and YouTube
Facebook is a free-access Web sie that was launched in 2004. Very user's profile page allows friends to post messages for users to see. Facebook has an application that allows...