Contrary MySpace Evidence Strikes A Litigant Again–HAC, Inc. v. Box

HAC, Inc. v. Box, 2010 OK 89 (Okla. Dec. 14, 2010)

I’ve repeatedly blogged on social networking sites providing evidence that undercuts a litigant’s position (my last post on the topic). Today’s example involves a minor working in a grocery store. A co-worker throws a roll of toilet paper at the minor. The minor responds to the provocation by going to the co-worker and yelling at him. They scuffle, tangle their feet, and fall down. The fall permanently injures the minor’s arms.

The minor seeks workers’ comp. The store responds that he was engaged in “horseplay” and therefore isn’t entitled to compensation. The Oklahoma Supreme Court provides a detailed definition of compensable vs. non-compensable “horseplay” for workers’ comp purposes, and voluntary horseplay isn’t compensable. The court then further concludes that the minor had, in fact, engaged in voluntary horseplay. In support of this conclusion, the court cites (among other things) this part of the minor’s deposition:

“At page 26, Box testified:

Q. And isn’t it true that on your MySpace page and on their MySpace page, however that works, you told some of your friends that this accident happened when you were roughhousing and wrestling. Correct?

A. Yes.”

Workers’ comp claim denied.

I do love the technological savvy of the grocery store’s lawyer in discussing MySpace: “however that works.” Sounds like counsel was well-prepped for the deposition. Then again, I confess that I don’t really understand MySpace either…!