Reasonable Disclosure of Materials: Forman v. Henkin

Forman v. Henkin, 2018 NY Slip Op 01015, 30 N.Y.3d 656, 70 N.Y.S.3d 157, 93 N.E.3d 882
Plaintiff alleged she fell from a horse owned by Defendant and suffered traumatic injuries. During discovery, Defendant sought materials from Plaintiff’s Facebook account that she had deactivated about six months after the accident.
Defendants asked the judge for an unlimited authorization to obtain the entire private Facebook account and Plaintiff objected. Defendant argued that the material was necessary to their defense. Plaintiff argued Defendant failed to establish a legal basis for the search of her account even though Plaintiff’s counsel could not affirm they had reviewed the Facebook account themselves.
Note: This case is a NY Court of Appeals case. In New York State, the Court of Appeals is the highest court.

Using the Forman case, answer the following questions:
(A) What did Defendant demand in its discovery requests regarding Plaintiff’s Facebook account? How did the Plaintiff respond? Explain why.
(B) What elements did the Court of Appeals consider when it reviewed the lower court’s decision?
(C) “While Facebook—and sites like it—offer relatively new means of sharing information with others, there is nothing so novel about Facebook materials that precludes application of New York’s long-standing disclosure rules to resolve this dispute.”

Analyze the Court’s statement and explain how the Court viewed public and private social media
accounts differently than the Appellate Court.
(D) Why did the Court of Appeals reverse the Appellate Court’s decision? What arguments did it rely on?

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