Social Media: Expanding Discoverability

Social Media: Expanding Discoverability

By Jamie V. Tarallo and Jeffrey T. Miller. Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and LinkedIn have become major resources in the legal world. Lawyers have found that these resources can provide accurate information as to potential litigants’ background, history, the seriousness of injury or level of disability. The law around the discoverability and use of these social media platforms is recent and relevant as the world is continuously shifting to fast-paced social networking. The information sought on these social platforms cannot only be useful for finding litigants, but also for strengthening a defense as to the extent of personal injuries claimed. It is no longer the norm that only major companies have to preserve electronic data for litigation. Plaintiffs in personal injury actions now also have to preserve social media platforms as the information contained therein can be highly relevant and useful for the defense of a case. Use of E-discovery is broadening as society becomes more immersed in social media and the online world. Recent decisions have held that when a person puts their mental or physical health in question, social media platforms can be very useful and determinative in the outcome of a case. Counsel can use law mechanisms such as notices to admit, motions to compel, and discovery demands to extract such information that is necessary and relevant to the cause of action. In a recent ruling, Vasquez-Santos v. Matthew, Appellate Division, First Department, opened the door even further for Defendants and granted a motion to compel to allow an expert to dive through the plaintiff’s electronic devices, including through email accounts and other social...
Slip and Fall Scheme Rakes in Over $30m and The Five Men Behind it Have Been Charged with Defrauding NYC Area Businesses and Their Insurance Companies

Slip and Fall Scheme Rakes in Over $30m and The Five Men Behind it Have Been Charged with Defrauding NYC Area Businesses and Their Insurance Companies

By Jamie V. Tarallo and Jeffrey T. Miller. A fraudulent slip and fall scheme has led to the indictment of five New York residents being charged with defrauding New York City area businesses and their insurance companies of more than $30 Million Dollars. Peter Kalkanis, a former chiropractor, Bryan Duncan, Kerry Gordon, Robert Locust and Ryan Rainford make up the “defendants” who were charged with separate charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud in connection with a “criminal slip and fall” scheme in order to obtain fraudulent insurance reimbursement and other compensation.  The above charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Peter Kalkanis, the alleged organizer and leader of the scheme, was also charged with one count of aggravated identity theft which carries a 2 year mandatory prison sentence. The indictment, which was unsealed on Thursday April 19, 2018, details how the five men set up and operated the slip and fall scheme. According to the indictment, the men started to recruit “participants/patients” in or about January 2013 to the present time. Kalkanis and his co-defendants would identify locations in the City and direct the “participants” to stage slip and fall accidents. In some instances, participants did not stage a slip and fall, but merely were provided with an address which they were instructed to claim was the location where they “slipped and fell”. The defendants then directed the participants to allege they were injured and to seek medical treatment. The defendants even went as far as to direct the participants to assert specific injuries to their bodies, “including...