Sexy MySpace photos stay out of evidence

Webb v. Jessamine County Fiscal Court, 2011 WL 3652751 (E.D. Ky. August 19, 2011) Plaintiff filed a civil rights lawsuit against the local jail and other governmnet officials after she gave birth while incarcerated. She claimed, among other things, that the jail's failure to get her proper medical care before and during the delivery caused her extreme humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress. The defendants tried an extremely bizarre and highly questionable tactic – they sought to use provocative photos purportedly copied from plaintiff's MySpace profile, to demonatrate that it is "less probable that [plaintiff] would experience humiliation and mental anguish by being in a jail cell while delivering a baby." Defendants claimed that the photos were "of such a nature that a reasonable person would be embarrassed if such photographs were placed in public view." In other words, defendants argued that because plaintiff would post photos like that of herself online, she did not have the dignity to be free from being ignored or called a child and a liar during labor. The court granted plaintiff's motion in limine, excluding the photos from evidence. It found that the photos were irrelevant: Although the appearance of provocative photos online may cause some humiliation, it bears no relation at all to the extreme humiliation and mental anguish a woman forced to go through labor on her own in a jail cell would bring. The court also found that the defendants had not properly authenticated the photos, i.e., had not provided enough supporting evidence to show that they actually were of plaintiff. The photos that the defendants offered bore "no indicia of authenticity, such as a web address or a photo of these images on the public MySpace account from which Defendants claim they originated."

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