In August 2009, Cathy Bates was killed in a car accident in Barnegat, New Jersey. One of the first responders to the accident scene took a photograph of Ms. Bates and posted the picture on Facebook, before her family was told of the accident. Following that incident, and to protect the privacy rights of accident victims, New Jersey made it a crime for first responders to distribute images of accident victims to the public, without the prior written consent of the victim or, if the victim is unable to consent, the victim’s next-of-kin.
“Cathy’s Law,” N.J.S.A. 2A:58D-2, makes it a disorderly persons offense for a first responder who knowingly discloses any photograph, file, videotape, record or other reproduction of the image of a person being provided medical care, or other assistance, at the scene of a motor vehicle accident or other emergency situation without written, prior consent. The statute also creates a private right of action to allow a person whose image is disclosed in violation of the statute to sue for actual damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and equitable relief. Posting such images on social media without consent would constitute a violation of this law.
Rob Nussbaum has lectured numerous times on legal issues and social media and how social media and other electronic evidence may be admitted into evidence at trial. He concentrates his practice in general commercial litigation and appears regularly in New Jersey federal and state courts.
For any questions relating to whether your website or social media presence can be used against you as a basis for personal jurisdiction, please contact Robert B. Nussbaum, Esq. at Saiber LLC.