Social Media, Passport Discovery Ordered in Personal Injury Case

In Doyle v. Temco Serv. Indus., Inc., 2019 NY Slip Op 03919 (App. Div. 1st Dept. May 21, 2019), the court held that defendant was entitled to discovery of plaintiff’s social media accounts – albeit not to the extent that defendant demanded.

From the decision:

Private social media information can be discoverable to the extent it “contradicts or conflicts with [a] plaintiff’s alleged restrictions, disabilities, and losses, and other claims” (Patterson v Turner Constr. Co., 88 AD3d 617, 618 [1st Dept 2011]). Here, plaintiff alleges that injuries she sustained as the result of a slip and fall at her place of work have caused her to suffer, among other things, a loss of enjoyment of life. Defendants are entitled to discovery to rebut plaintiff’s claims (see CPLR 3101; Forman v Henkin, 30 NY3d 656, 663-664 [2018]), however, defendants’ discovery demand seeking access to all of plaintiff’s postaccident social media accounts is overbroad (Forman, 30 NY3d at 664-665).

In their reply brief, defendants limit their demand to seek “only plaintiff’s post-accident social media records regarding social and recreational activities that she claims have been limited by her accident.” Accordingly, the motion to compel should be granted to that extent[.]

The court also held that “defendants’ request for copies of all of plaintiff’s passports held after the accident … was reasonable and relevant to plaintiff’s claim that her injuries have restricted her from traveling long distances[.]”