A Nova Scotia woman has been ordered to produce records for the amount of time she spends on Facebook to back up a claim of damage suffered in a car accident.
Joanne Marlene Conrod was in an accident on the A. Murray MacKay Bridge in August 2011. She was driving from Halifax to Dartmouth during rush hour when she says a dump truck entered her lane and collided with her.
Conrod claims the injuries she sustained in that accident have left her unable to work and have compromised her recreational and social activities, including the amount of time she spends on Facebook.
Conrod is suing David Caverley, the driver of the dump truck and his employer, Dartmouth-based Allterrain Contracting Inc. — the truck's registered owner.
The lawyer for Allterrain Contracting and the driver are now going after Conrod for proof to back up her claims that her ability to participate in social activities has been compromised.
The lawyer had been demanding that Conrod provide access to her Facebook account, including those parts of her page that are only visible to her friends.
In a decision released this week, a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia said Facebook is becoming an issue in such cases.
"In view of social media's widespread popularity, it is not surprising that the relevance of Facebook-related evidence to personal injury claims has risen in other jurisdictions," Justice Glen McDougall wrote.
"Over the last decade, social networking websites like Facebook have become a part of daily life for many people in Canada and around the world. We have reached a point in history where those of us without a Facebook profile seem to be in the minority."
However, McDougall ruled it was not necessary for Conrod to open up her full Facebook profile to scrutiny by lawyers.
Instead, he argued she must provide records of her Facebook usage — including log-in and log-out information — to see if it supports her claim that the accident has reduced her ability to concentrate online.
Conrod's claims against Caverley and Allterrain Contracting have not yet been tested in court.