Florida Court Renders Important Decision on Facebook Privacy

The Fourth District Court of Appeals was recently called upon to determine issues concerning the rights to privacy that attached to photographs on a personal injury Plaintiff’s Facebook page. The case (Nucci v. Target Corp.) was a slip and fall case. The defense counsel noticed prior to the deposition of the Plaintiff that her Facebook page had 1285 photographs on it. Two days after her deposition, there were only 1249 photographs on her Facebook page. This led defense counsel to actively pursue production of the Plaintiff’s Facebook history.

The Plaintiff attempted to resist the production of her Facebook history, arguing that she had a reasonable expectation of privacy as to the content of her Facebook page. To support the argument, Plaintiff argued that she had restricted access to her Facebook page and that this act should also keep her Facebook content private and undiscoverable by counsel for Target.

The court decided the case by weighing Plaintiff’s asserted right of privacy against the relevance of the Facebook content to the issues in the Plaintiff’s lawsuit.

The court held that “the photos posted on a social networking site are neither privileged nor protected by any right of privacy, regardless of any privacy settings that the user may have established.”

The Plaintiff’s broad range of alleged damages (which included allegations of permanent injuries and emotional pain and suffering) made the photographs posted on her Facebook page highly relevant to the litigation, therefore Plaintiff was required to produce that information to the attorneys for the Defendant.