A judge of the Supreme Court of New York State has recently held that information
voluntarily placed on Facebook and MySpace pages are discoverable,
and that doing so would not violate the plaintiff's right to
The plaintiff, Romano, claimed that she sustained permanent
injuries as a result of an accident and also that she could no
longer participate in certain activities and her enjoyment of life
was affected. As part of its defense, the defendant brought a
motion to obtain complete access to the plaintiff's current and
historical Facebook and MySpace pages and accounts on grounds that
the plaintiff has uploaded certain information that would be
inconsistent with her claims concerning the extent and nature of
The majority of Romano's Facebook and MySpace profiles have
been marked private by Romano using the websites' privacy
settings, and the content is not accessible to the defendant.
The court allowed access to the information. It reasoned that
precluding the defendant from accessing the plaintiff's profile
would essentially be condoning her attempt to hide relevant
information behind the self regulated privacy controls provided by
Facebook and MySpace. The court further held that it was reasonable
to infer from the limited postings of the plaintiff's public
Facebook and My Space profile pages that her private pages may
contain materials and information that may lead to the disclosure
of admissible evidence.
Since Facebook and MySpace have explicit policies indicating
that there is no guarantee of complete privacy, when the plaintiff
created her Facebook and MySpace accounts, she consented to the
fact that her personal information would be shared with other,
notwithstanding her privacy settings, as this is the purpose of
these social networks. Since the plaintiff knew that her
information may become publicly available, she cannot now claim
that she had a reasonable expectation of privacy.
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In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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