Judge Deems Facebook Account Discoverable


by Long Island Attorney Paul A. Lauto, Esq./www.liattorney.com

Facebook and other social media accounts, are often strictly safeguarded by the account holder.  However, if you are involved in litigation that claims damages related to physical and/or social activities, then it is best to be prepared to have to reveal the contents of your social media accounts.  At least that appears to be the lesson derived from the US District Court case of Gatto v. United Airlines, Inc.

In Gatto, the plaintiff alleged personal injuries from an accident that resulkted in, among other things, impairment of his physical and social activities.  Accordingly, defendant demanded discovery of plaintiff’s Facebook account, which was admitteldly subsequently deleted by plaintiff.  In holding that plaintiff’s action was tantamount to the destruction of evidence, the judge granted defendant’s motion for a jury instruction of adverse interference.

In effect, the Gatto decision has deemed Facebook and other social media accounts, fair game in litigation that raises issue as to physical and social activities.   This appears to be especially true in cases of employment discrimination and sexual harassment.  In years past, people who kept diaries did so under lock and key.  However, today with current day social media, the lives of many are an open book.  In order to safeguard our privacy we must be more careful than ever as to what we post in “cyber-space”, as once it is out there you can never take it back.

Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.


Paul A. Lauto, Esq.
Paul A. Lauto, Esq. completed his undergraduate studies at SUNY at Stony Brook in 1987, with a major in political science and a double minor in socio-legal studies and moral-legal issues in philosophy. Mr. Lauto received his Juris Doctor from New York Law School in 1990 and was admitted in 1991 to practice in the courts of New York State, as well as the Eastern and Southern Districts of the United States District Court.

Mr. Lauto has primarily focused on personal injury throughout his career and previously worked as in-house counsel to a major insurance company. In 2002 Mr. Lauto established Paul A. Lauto, PLLC, with a primary concentration on personal injury, all types of accident cases, Wills, Trusts and Estates and more. Paul is the sole author of his Scales of Justice blog, which provides updates and information about current legal stories in the news and how they may affect our lives. Mr. Lauto prides himself on providing clients maximum results, with a high level of personal attorney service and attention that is uncommon in the profession. For more information please visit http://www.liattorney.com