Black v. Metro Life Ins. Co., 244 F Supp 3d 625 (WD Mich 2017) at 628
Black v Metropolitan Life Insurance Company involves an appeal from the trial court’s decision to eliminate the claimant’s benefits under her insurance policy.
The plaintiff, who was involved in a motor vehicle accident, alleged that her injuries prevented her from returning to work. Due to her claim of total disability, she was granted long-term disability benefits.
Subsequently, the plaintiff’s insurance company requested updated medical information. The company also conducted a social media investigation that revealed she was able to travel long distances and appeared not to be in constant pain, which was in direct contrast to what she claimed. For example, two of the plaintiff’s social media posts showed her attending a wedding and travelling from Michigan to Chicago.
While the decision focused on policy interpretation, the court relied on the plaintiff’s social media posts, in conjunction with other medical evidence, to conclude that her physical condition had significantly improved. The images used were also analyzed by a physician, who concluded that social media posts depicted her lifestyle as active.
Based on the totality of the evidence, the appeal court allowed the insurance company to file a motion to terminate her long-term disability benefits, reaffirming the trial court’s decision.
Social media investigation is the new surveillance being used by insurance companies. Private Footprint is a simple tool that provides lawyers full visibility into their clients’ past and present social media activity.
In this case, the insurance company used the plaintiff’s social media posts to show that she had an active lifestyle. With Private Footprint, the lawyer (s) representing the plaintiff would have been able to quickly run a report of the plaintiff’s social media accounts to assess if this was indeed a file they wanted to take on.
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