A recent case in Virginia should make people think twice before they post anything on Facebook. In a wrongful death case, in which a husband filed a lawsuit related to his wife’s death in a car accident, the judge imposed a $700,000 penalty on the plaintiff and his lawyer for deleting photos from the plaintiff’s Facebook page that might hurt the case. The lawyer was ordered to pay $522,000 and the plaintiff was ordered to pay $180,000.
Because it would be difficult to convince a jury that the plaintiff was a distraught widower when he posted pictures of himself holding a beer and wearing a t-shirt that read “I [heart] hot moms”, the lawyer instructed the plaintiff to “clean up” his Facebook account. “We do not want blow ups of other pics at trial,” the lawyer’s assistant’s email to the plaintiff said, “so please, please clean up your Facebook and MySpace!”
While this is still a developing area of law, we can expect to see more rulings like this in Los Angeles and across the country. So, be careful about what you post on your Facebook page; don’t post anything that you would not want to be used against you later.