GL-og, A Law Blog

Removing the Mystery from the Legal Process

Settlement of Your Personal Injury Case

David Greenberg - Tuesday, May 20, 2014
When an individual is injured and needs to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for the damages sustained, it is normal for them to ask their attorney “When is my case going to settle?”. Although normal for a client to ask their attorney this question, the answer is not easy and is somewhat involved.

It is important to note that a plaintiff can never force a defendant to settle a case. Settlement is voluntary and is usually accomplished when it becomes clear to the defendant that the plaintiff has a legitimate case and that the defendant is at risk of being found liable to the plaintiff for damages at a trial.

In all types of litigation including personal injury litigation, defendants do not like being sued and the thought of having to pay the plaintiff. It is very important for the attorney for the injured party, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, to put pressure on defendants to encourage them to evaluate the case and attempt to settle the case with the plaintiff. The plaintiff does this by moving the case forward in a number of ways including providing proof of the defendant’s fault to the defendant’s attorney, compiling the plaintiffs medical records and providing them to the defendant’s attorney, obtaining records from the defendant’s attorney, taking depositions if necessary, and attempting to enter into negotiations with the defendant’s attorney. If the defendant is not interested in settlement at this point in time, the plaintiff’s attorney can request a trial date from the court. The prospect of a date when the case will be tried before a judge or jury many times will lead to the parties to the lawsuit considering ways to settle it to avoid a this as a trial is very stressful to all involved.

Lawsuits can settle at any time in the process including right before trial, the day of trial, during trial or even after a judgment has been rendered. It is the hard work of the plaintiff and his or her attorney that generally makes the prospect of settlement look good to the defendants to the litigation.

 

Greenberg & LaPeyronnie is not your lawyer, and therefore the information contained in this blog post is simply informational, not legal advice. However, if you have any questions or are seeking legal advice, please call us at 504-366-8118 to set up a consultation today. 

Could Your Facebook Account Lose Your Case?

Ann Thompson - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Could your Facebook account lose your case? Absolutely. Both I and other attorneys at Greenberg & LaPeyronnie have personally won several cases by strategically using the other party's Facebook account information against him or her.

 

Almost everyone is on Facebook these days. Most people know to check their settings and keep their profiles private, especially if they are a party to a lawsuit. And never "friend" opposing parties or opposing counsel. (One would think that would be obvious, but....) But should you be on Facebook at all, if you are involved in litigation? Attorneys are routinely using Facebook pictures and posts as evidence in trials. Could this woman be you?

 

Examples of Real Cases

 

Although it can happen in any case, domestic lawsuits and personal injury cases are the most likely candidates for Facebook abuse. In a domestic case involving false allegations of abuse, I used the alleged victim’s Facebook post stating that she would do or say “anything” to get back at her ex-boyfriend, our client. Her claim was dismissed. I am aware of personal injury cases which have been “zero-ed” when a supposedly severely injured party was tagged in Facebook pictures carrying his child on his shoulders or enjoying beers with friends and family. Recently, a Florida court rescinded a settlement of $80,000.00 after the plaintiff's daughter violated a confidentiality clause by bragging about the settlement on Facebook. If you are a plaintiff in a personal injury suit or you have an ongoing domestic case, it is probably in your best interest to shut down your Facebook profile altogether.

 

What Can Be Produced

 

The good news for you: Facebook is notorious for failing to respond to subpoenas (unless, of course, the requesting party is in California or domesticates the subpoena in California, is in law enforcement, or is the federal government). But that won't stop the court from ordering you to download your account information in full - including your password, pictures, and private messages - and turn it over to the other side. And if you don't comply with that order? Or get caught deleting portions of that account? Well, things might look pretty grim for your case.

 

Deleting or Deactivating Your Account

 

What if you to get rid of your account altogether? Keep in mind that permanently deleting a Facebook account may count as destruction or spoliation of evidence. (Although Facebook may internally retain some or all of your information; given their screwy privacy policies, no one really knows.) And deactivating a Facebook account doesn't eliminate your account; it just prohibits access to it, until you log back in. 

 

What to Do

 

But hope is not lost. If you don't have an active Facebook account, the other side is less likely to want to obtain your records. And they must have some reason to do so - some courts have ruled that a "fishing expedition" to see what they might find is not enough. If you've been smart, haven't posted anything about your lawsuit, haven't lied to opposing counsel, and your privacy settings are sky-high, there will be little reason for opposing counsel to request your information, and little reason for the judge to order you to produce it.

 

Long Story Short

 

Keep your profile as private as possible, but assume everything on Facebook is totally public; deactivate (not delete) your account if you are a party to a lawsuit; don't lie or exaggerate; and don't post anything - ever - about the subject of your case.

 

Want more information? Start herehere, and here.

 

Greenberg & LaPeyronnie is not your lawyer, and therefore the information contained in this blog post is simply informational, not legal advice. However, if you have any questions or are seeking legal advice, please call us at 504-366-8118 to set up a consultation today.