Social Networking Document Disclosure at FSCO

Author(s): Stephen M. Birman

October 31, 2012

A recent decision (Eniko Rakosi v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company1) at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (“FSCO”) held that applicants at FSCO may in the course of pre-arbitration disclosure under the Dispute Resolution Practice Code (DRPC) be required to produce photographs created and posted on their Facebook and other social networking sites during the period in which an applicant was in receipt of, or is applying for accident benefits.

The case involving the Applicant, Eniko Rakosi and the Insurer, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm) involved a dispute over Ms. Rakosi’s claims for income replacement benefits, attendant care benefits and medical/rehabilitation benefits arising from a motor vehicle accident which occurred on May 5, 2008.

A request by State Farm for photographs with the Applicant’s image from her Facebook account was made at a Pre-Hearing Discussion before Arbitrator Robert Bujold on March 24, 2011.

At the pre-hearing discussion, State Farm provided the Arbitrator with a copy of Ms. Rakosi’s public Facebook profile from dates ranging between October 2010 and April 2011. In addition, State Farm provided the Arbitrator with over 30 photographs of Ms. Rakosi from her public profile on a social networking site called “hi5”, which the Insurer accessed in October 2011. These photographs showed Ms. Rakosi participating in outdoor adventure activities (i.e. zip-lining).

hi5 image

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