Continuing a trend among other courts, a recent ruling from U.S.D.C., Middle District of Louisiana, recognized the discoverability of plaintiff’s social media postings. Baxter v. Anderson, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110687 (M.D. La. Aug. 18, 2016). In Baxter, Magistrate Judge Bourgeois addressed the discoverability of social media in a recent discovery ruling on August 19, 2016. The discovery requests calling for production of plaintiff’s social media information, as propounded, were overly broad. However, the court was still willing to permit the discovery with some limitations.
Magistrate Judge Bourgeois was not willing to permit unfettered access to a plaintiff’s social media account just because a personal injury lawsuit was filed, which placed plaintiff’s mental and physical conditions at issue. However, the ruling permitted access to any postings that met one of the following criteria:
- Postings by the plaintiff that relate to the accident;
- Postings related to any emotional distress or treated received that relate to the accident;
- Postings or photographs that relate to alternative potential emotional stressors, or that are inconsistent with the alleged mental injuries;
- Postings that relate to physical injuries sustained as a result of the accident and any treatment therefor;
- Postings that relate to other, unrelated physical injuries; and,
- Postings or photographs that reflect physical capabilities that are inconsistent with the alleged injuries at issue.
Accordingly, the court acknowledged that social media posts/photographs are subject to discovery, which is consistent with numerous other rulings within Louisiana, as well as around the nation.