September 08, 2011

Partial remittitur of $6.227 million verdict in Virginia based in part on Facebook spoliation A trial verdict of $6,227,000 to the decedent's husband in a wrongful death action arising from a truck accident in Virginia was challenged based in part on allegations of discovery violations related to the cleansing of the plaintiff's Facebook account of unflattering photographs. The Virginia Lawyers Weekly blog has just updated the story, with an account of the trial court's post judgment decision reducing the verdict to $2.1 million in a 32 page order. A few choice quotes from the order: During the course of their discussion, Murray questioned how the Defendants had obtained the "1 [heart] .. hot moms photo." Smith said she thought the photo likely came from Facebook. Smith accessed Lester's Facebook page, and after seeing Facebook photo, Murray instructed Smith to tell Lester to "clean up" his Facebook because "we don't want blowups of this stuff at trial." . . . . Following Murray's instructions, Smith emailed Lester at 9:54 a.m. and 3:49 p.m. on March 26,2009. The first email requested information from Lester to answer the interrogatory seeking the identities ofthe individuals in the "I .. hot moms" photo. After informing Lester that the "I [heart] .. hot moms photo" was on his Facebook page, Smith stated there are "some other pics that should be deleted." The second email exhorted Lester to "clean up" his Facebook page because "we do NOT want blow ups of other pics at trial so please, please clean up your facebook and myspace!" . . . . Murray intentionally omitted...

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