Disability Insurance Adjusters, Investigators, Lawyers — and Judges — Looking You Up on Facebook and Twitter
As we have blogged previously, anyone who has a disability insurance claim needs to think twice about the content of what they post in the social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, MySpace), lest an insurance adjuster or investigator conduct online surveillance and misconstrue activities depicted in photos, stories about personal activities, etc. It has come to light that some judges are also conducting online research on plaintiffs and basing their opinions in part upon what they find out on Facebook. In a footnote to an opinion issued in Purvis v. Commissioner of Social Sec., 2011 WL741234 (D.N.J., Feb. 23, 2011), the judge wrote:
Although the Court remands the ALJ’s decision for a more detailed finding, it notes that in the course of its own research, it discovered one profile picture on what is believed to be Plaintiff’s Facebook page where she appears to be smoking. Profile Picture by Theresa Purvis, Facebook [link omitted] (last visited Feb. 16, 2011). If accurately depicted, Plaintiff’s credibility is justifiably suspect.
It is important for disability claimants to remember that what they post in the social media may be taken out of context and to be prudent when deciding what to share with not only their friends, but also with their disability insurance company and possibly an arbitrator or judge.