The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey recently ruled that non-public Facebook wall posts are protected under the Federal Stored Communications Act (the “SCA”) in Ehling v. Monmouth-Ocean Hospital Service Corp., No. 2:11-CV-3305 (WMJ) (D.N.J. Aug. 20, 2013).  The plaintiff was a registered nurse and paramedic at Monmouth-Ocean Hospital Service Corp. (“MONOC”).  She maintained a personal Facebook profile and was “Facebook friends” with many of her coworkers but none of the MONOC managers.  She adjusted her privacy preferences so only her “Facebook friends” could view the messages she posted onto her Facebook wall.  Unbeknownst to the plaintiff, a coworker who was also a “Facebook friend” took screenshots of the plaintiff’s wall posts and sent them to a MONOC manager.  When the manager learned of a wall post in which the plaintiff criticized Washington, D.C. paramedics in their response to a museum shooting, MONOC temporarily suspended the plaintiff with pay and delivered a memo warning her that the wall post reflected a “deliberate disregard for patient safety.”  The plaintiff subsequently filed suit alleging violations of the SCA, among other claims.


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