Partying Tweets Sink Damages Award for Woman
If you've ever called in sick, are ditching friends for the weekend, or have gotten into a car accident recently, pay heed.
A jury in Gwinnett County, Georgia jury lowered damages awarded to a woman who was injured in a car accident, after they were provided some tweets she had sent out since the accident, according to the website Daily Report.
While plaintiff Omiesha Daniels asked for $1.1 million, the jury first awarded $237,000 verdict, then lowered it to $142,000. In the crash, Daniels, 22, broke an arm and received a laceration to her forehead. In her lawsuit, Daniels claimed that the injuries she received kept her from being able to perform her job as a hairstylist.
Defense attorney J. Robb Cruser provided tweets to the jury, posted from Daniel's account on micro-blogging site Twitter. According to Cruser, the tweets showed that Daniels was not having any problems living a full life following her injuries. Her tweets referred to an "epic weekend" Daniels had enjoyed in New Orleans, and included pictures of her and friends on the beach during Spring Break.
Daniels even went so far as to tweet that she was starting "to love my scar," and stated that she was able to carry, with her previously broken arm, a purse she shared a photo of online.
"Twitter sunk her," said Cruser. "Those kinds of comments and that level of activity hurt the pain and suffering claim, even when she was saying she couldn't work like she used to."
In response, Daniels told the jury that the handbag was lightweight, but her attorney Michael Goldberg admitted that the tweets gave the jury an impression that she was not really injured in a way that was detrimental to her job performance.
"There was nothing she posted that was different from what she said she could do, but with the jury we had, there was some concern that if they gave this girl a large reward, she was going to go out and party later. It's not a hard argument to make to a very conservative jury," Goldberg said.
Goldberg also referred to the fact that the jury was all white, while his client is African American. Goldberg stated that the jury likely had trouble understanding the difficulty involved with braiding and weaving the hair of her largely African American clientele, a process that he stated was hindered due to her injuries.