In a recent decision, a federal court in Southern indiana ordered two plaintiffs to turn over their Facebook entries, wall postings, photos, groups joined, etc. See report. Mike Maslanka reports that the EEOC filed suit alleging sex harassment on behalf of two women. See EEOC v. Simply Storage Management, LLC. The Court ordered the women to produce the Facebook updates, wall postings, groups joined, etc. that related to their emotional status. As the court noted, any posting by the two women is capable of leading to admissible evidence regarding their emotional state for the time period in which they claim severe emotional distress. The court limits its order to this particular case in which the two women claim post-traumatic stress disorder. The women do not claim "garden variety" emotional distress.
The ruling is in keeping with prior decisions that do allow for great discovery when victims claim severe emotional suffering. The new aspect is that the judge orders production of password protected or "friend protected" information.
As I have had to explain to a few clients, when you file suit, you do give up some privacy rights…..