Sedie v. United States, No. C-08-4417 EDL E-FILED (N.D. Cal. Aug. 25, 2009)
In Sedie v US, the plaintiff was hit by a postal truck when riding a bicycle. The plaintiff claimed that his injuries limited him from working or pursuing his career and sought damages of $2.5 million. Relying on social media evidence, the court found that the plaintiff, despite his injuries, was exaggerating the extent of his pain.
The plaintiff testified that he spent most of his time lying down, confined to his room due to his injuries and depression. However, his online social media posts revealed that his life was not “hell on earth” as he initially claimed. For example, his Facebook and Myspace profiles depicted him painting – an activity he claimed he could not do.
Along with expert medical evidence, the court concluded that the damages sought by the plaintiff were inflated. Therefore, social media evidence, in conjunction with the medical evidence, was used to discredit the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Increasingly social media evidence is being used in personal injury cases. Private Footprint is a simple tool that provides lawyers full visibility into their clients’ past and present social media activity.
In this case, plaintiff’s social media accounts were used to demonstrate that he had exaggerated his injuries. With Private Footprint, the lawyer(s) representing the plaintiff would have been aware of the posts being made and noticed issues that decreased the value of the file. Private Footprint lets lawyers get ahead of the curve and avoid the discovery surprise.
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