North Carolina Court Of Appeals Matter-Of-Factly Cites Litigant’s Facebook Profile In Factual Background Section Of Opinion
Here’s something interesting.
In the factual and procedural background section of a recent opinoin, the North Carolina Court of Appeals cites to a litigant’s Facebook profile to introduce him in that section. See Staton v. Josey Lumber Co., Inc., No. COA14–1001 (N.C. Ct. App. May 5, 2015).
It’s a workers compensation case, and the claimant “injured his left leg and foot when he fell off scaffolding while welding.” The North Carolina Industial Commission found that it had no jurisdiction to hear his claim because it determined he was an independent contractor and not an employee. The claimant appealed this finding, although the court of appeals affirmed.
In the second paragraph of the factual background section (and the fifth paragraph of the opinion), the court of appeals noted:
Staton called himself a contractor on his Facebook page. He stated that “[m]ost everyone knows I’m a welder. I travel alot chasing jobs. I do shutdown work. That is when a company takes off a week or so and contractors go in and fix whatever is broke.”
The court of appeals quoted this language again in the analysis section of the opinion.
So, here, we’re not dealing with spoliation or impeachment or any of the usual issues when social media is involved in litigation. It offers no citations or footnotes to justify some type of novel citation to new social media technology.
Rather, the Court of Appeals matter-of -factly quotes the litigant’s Facebook profile (just like it would any other statement or document).
How about that?