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Florida Court Says Facebook Posts May Not Be Private

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Social media may be part of your lawsuit.

On January 7, 2015, a three judge panel sitting on Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that a plaintiff had to produce photos she had posted on Facebook. The court granted Defendant Target Corporation’s request to compel Plaintiff Maria Nucci to produce the photos.

Prior to this decision, Florida trial courts were split as to whether information posted on social media sites is discoverable in a lawsuit.

When Target moved to compel Nucci to produce photos from her Facebook page, Nucci argued that, as a Facebook user, she had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Nucci cited the fact that Facebook generally prevents the public from accessing her page without her permission.

Rejecting Nucci’s argument, the Florida Court held that Facebook users have only very limited privacy rights. The court noted that Facebook requires users to acknowledge their limited rights when they sign up for the site. The court then held that photos depicting Nucci’s quality of life before and after an accident at a Target store were highly relevant to the lawsuit—and discoverable.

It remains to be seen how other Florida courts will follow and apply the decision by the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals.

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