Defending Against Attack Damages in a Lawsuit: How Social Media Can Help

A person using Facebook on their phone and laptop.

When seeking a strategy to attack damages in a litigation, defense lawyers make it their mission to use anything and everything at their disposal to strengthen the case of their client. In today’s digital age, this means taking to the web and using a wide range of internet resources, which can include access to a number of unique sources of research. One of the most useful is, surprisingly, the plaintiff’s social media accounts. Now that most people record a large portion of their day-to-day happenings via Facebook and Twitter, it becomes much easier to gain a complete picture of the case’s more personal details.

A relevant example can be found in the New Jersey case of Fitzgerald vs. Duff, 2013. The plaintiff combated defendant claims of a $21,000 income by using social media posts of the defendant’s newly-purchased speedboat and Chevrolet Camaro. With the help of this photographic evidence, they were able to prove that the defendant’s yearly income was closer to $100,000, dramatically affecting the outcome of this child custody case.

In Gatto v United Airlines Inc social media posts were used to to prove that the Plaintiff’s alleged work-related injuries were inconsistent with his apparent physical mobility shown in a series of photos. Even after Gatto attempted to delete his account, charges were brought against him for spoliation of evidence.

Keeping these cases in mind, it’s easy to understand how such evidence could be used in a variety of different situations, and even to the benefit of the defendant. In recent emotional distress cases, a new precedent is being set for the use of social media posts as ways of determining a plaintiff’s mental and emotional state. Photographs of a plaintiff enjoying social activities, or participating in other recreational events can serve as a means to undermine their testimony in court.

These kinds of social media applications in such cases are currently being debated in courts throughout New Jersey, which is why expert legal help becomes so important. Securing an experienced lawyer who understands all of the most up to date cases and precedents will end up serving as an indispensable asset. Contact New Jersey Lawyer John J. Zidziunas & Associates at 973-509-8500 to get started on the questions that matter most to your case.