Could your old Facebook posts come back to haunt your family after you're dead?

Could your old Facebook posts come back to haunt your family after you're dead?

The Chicago-area family of a young woman who died in a tragic accident says lawyers wanted to examine almost seven years of her Facebook messages.

Three years ago, Catherin Ye, 24, was run over and killed by an oil tanker as she walked across Randolph near the Kennedy. Shortly after, friends set up a crowdfunding website in her memory, saying sge was "one of the world's brightest stars."

Now her family is suing the truck company and the driver for wrongful death. The company's attorneys requested "a complete archive of her Facebook pages," going back almost seven years, in part to gauge just how much her family really mattered to her. Ye's family members objected.
        
"This case says that the amount of communication you have on a facebook platform is a means of assessing how close you are to your family," explained Daliah Saper, a social medial attorney who is not involved in the case. "What's interesting about this case is we're dealing with facebook,whereas in the past, you'd get emails, and  correspondence between people  on traditional platforms."

Magistrate Jeffrey Gilbert decided this week that the family did not have to turn over the Facebook archives, at least not yet.  He called the defense request a "fishing expedition" which was "overbroad." But he said a narrower request for Facebook records would probably  be okay. Gilbert noted that social media cases are tough ones for the courts. They often involve large amounts of information covering a long period of time, and there haven't been too many judicial opinions on the issues.

"We are very pleased that he recognized the discoverability of social media information, including archival information," said the defendant's attorney, Mike LaBarge.

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