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NY top court says 'private' Facebook photos can be disclosed

From Reuters - February 13, 2018

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York states highest court ruled on Tuesday that Facebook users may be required to turn over photos and other information that are relevant to litigation, even if they are shielded by privacy settings.

By a 7-0 vote, the Court of Appeals reinstated a trial judges ruling requiring a Manhattan woman who was disabled in a horse riding accident to turn over to the defendant horse owner an array of photos taken before and after her injuries.

Noting significant controversy over what information on Facebook deserves privacy protection, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said it is appropriate to require disclosure of materials that are reasonably calculated to contain material and necessary evidence.

Kelly Forman said she became a recluse after suffering a spinal injury and brain damage, making it hard to read and write, in a June 2011 fall caused by Mark Henkins negligence in fitting her horse with a defective stirrup that broke.

To defend himself against Formans damages claims, Henkin sought access to her entire private Facebook account.

In February 2014, a trial judge ordered Forman to give Henkin pre-accident photos she intended to use at trial, post-accident photos not depicting nudity or romantic encounters, and access to post-accident records of her messages.

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