First, I want to mention, if you really like following me (and who doesn’t) I am writing blog posts for my new firm. Sometimes I will write on the same topic, but with a slightly different perspective (two different audiences after all.) The blog is http://www.lowabram.com/lowabram-blog/ I am telling you this, because I covered this issue from the point of view of a PI client on the L&A blog. But here I will be discussing the issue from the point of view of the lawyer.
The case involved a woman who is a hair stylist. She broke her arm and received a gash on her head in a car accident. As a hair stylist the break in her arm made it all but impossible to do her work, which consisted of such tasks as braiding hair, performing weaves, and so on. The article mentions that she is African-American and so are her clients. Normally race is not relevant, but in this case it is. I am made to understand that African-American hair has special requirements and can be much more demanding than Caucasian hair. All the same, I know for a fact that any hairdresser who has a broken arm is going to have trouble doing her job. And if that arm is permanently damaged, she will probably never be able to do her job again. So, what we have here is a very strong case. The injured woman was asking for 1.1 million dollars.
Enter Social Media – Twitter
The hair stylist posted on Twitter, a lot. What she posted about was her day-to-day life. She discussed going out, having fun, how she was beginning to like her scar, and so on. She also posted pictures, including one in which she was holding a purse with her damaged arm.
Enter the Jury
The jury looked at the tweets and saw that the injured woman was having a good life. She was having fun. She said the purse was light, but that didn’t matter. She wasn’t arguing she couldn’t enjoy her life, she was arguing she couldn’t work. That didn’t matter. A conservative jury, really almost any jury, looking at tweets such as the woman posted is going to reach the conclusion that her life just isn’t that bad. So instead of awarding the woman money that reflected the fact she could no longer work, she was awarded about 240k. Seem like a lot? Not if you have lost your income.
Plaintiffs must be made to understand that posting on social media, even things that are not directly relevant to a case, simply must not happen. A lot of clients don’t want to hear this. They like to post on social media, and they don’t understand why it matters so much. Talk to your clients, make them listen. Or watch your case as it falls apart because of a simple tweet.