Rhone v. Schneider Nat’l Carriers, Inc., No. 4:15-cv-01096-NCC, 2016 WL 1594453 (E.D. Mo. Apr. 21, 2016)
In this personal injury case, the court ordered Plaintiff to produce a “Download Your Info” report from Facebook, spanning from the date of the at-issue incident (June 2, 2014) through the present. Per Facebook’s Help Center (last accessed May 10, 2016) a report contains 70 categories of information, including: About Me, Chat (history), Friends, Followers, Logins, Logouts, Messages, Photos, Photos Metadata, Posts by You, Posts by Others, Post to Others, Removed Friends, Searches, Shares, Status Updates, and Videos.
Plaintiff claimed that she sustained “severe physical injuries” in the at-issue vehicle accident. In the course of discovery, Defendant requested production of any social media postings, photographs and/or videos posted by Plaintiff to any social media accounts since the date of the accident. Plaintiff objected and did not acknowledge the existence of any social media accounts. However, an “independent investigation” by Defendant uncovered the existence of a Facebook account containing relevant information (e.g., “comments and photos regarding physical activity such as dancing”), and possibly a LinkedIn account. Following communication between counsel, “including an option for Plaintiff’s counsel to disclose only that information related to Plaintiff’s ability to work and to enjoy the ordinary pursuits of life,” Plaintiff indicated there was no social media content related to the at-issue incident. Defendant therefore moved to compel Plaintiff’s production of a “Download Your Info” report from Facebook or, if content had been deleted, for sanctions. In response, Plaintiff argued the motion was moot because Defendant had already accessed and printed 264 pages of her Facebook postings and also claimed that her account may have been hacked.
The court found that Plaintiff had not “fully and completely” responded to Defendant’s requests and ordered her to identify all of her social media accounts from the at-issue time period. The court also found that production of a “Download Your Info” report from Facebook was “warranted.” In so finding, the court acknowledged consideration of Plaintiff’s privacy, but reasoned that Defendant had already uncovered relevant information and that Plaintiff failed to explain how the request was unduly broad or overly burdensome, particularly in light of the relative ease of providing the requested report.
Accordingly, Plaintiff was ordered to provide the requested report, from the date of the accident through the present, and Defendant, in turn, was ordered to produce to Plaintiff any information upon which it intended to rely in its case. Sanctions were denied where it was unclear whether any social media information had been deleted, or whether it could be recovered.
A full copy of the court’s order is available here.