In a recent B.C. Supreme Court case, a woman alleged that she suffered from a driving phobia as a result of a 2007 rear-end collision.
Her social media posts suggested otherwise.
In coming to his decision, Mr. Justice Walker relied in part on the woman’s Facebook updates to reach the conclusion that she was not a credible witness.
Among other things, the woman posted a comment about driving her mother’s manual transmission BMW late at night and at high speed.
Here’s what the post said:
[*The Plaintiff] is finally remembering how awesome it is to drive 120 clicks on a clear road in her car (A ♥’s Speedy G).
In his ruling, the judge said the woman has “a mindset that continues to be heavily focused on the accident as the cause of every problem or difficulty she has faced since.
I also found [The Plaintiff’s] attitude towards defence counsel during the exchange to have been inappropriately condescending.”
The judge went on to reject the woman’s submission that her Facebook posts should be characterized as “youthful boasting” and found that the postings accurately reflected her mindset when they were made.
There’s a lesson here. Comments made on social media sites are often easily found with a simple online search engine. Always be aware of the public nature of social media and the fact that, once something has been posted, it never truly gets erased and is open to scrutiny by the courts.
Many businesses have been forced to close, limit their hours, or reduce their capacity. Despite a vaccine, the economic impact will likely continue, particularly in the face of new strains of the virus.
On January 28, 2021, the Ontario Superior Court addressed “inadequacies in current legal responses to internet defamation and harassment” by creating a new tort of internet harassment and cyber bullying.
While the global pandemic has been incredibly disruptive, the Court is embracing these changes and the legal community is using the tools available to move matters through the court system despite challenges.