Defense attorney says Facebook images refute plaintiff's claims
Attorney Jane Unsell of Wood River is seeking Facebook evidence as she prepares to defend her client in a trial scheduled to start next week. According to a motion filed by Unsell, plaintiff Chad McCoy claimed he suffered PTSD from a shooting incident more than five years ago in Bethalto. Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian is set to preside over a trial March 11. Unsell filed a motion to compel the "turn-over of plaintiff’s cell phone, personal computer and entry to Facebook information” on Feb. 14. Kevin and Chad McCoy are suing James Ferando for allegedly discharging a firearm multiple times in their direction. They seek damages of at least $15,000 for each of their suit’s two counts, plus the costs of the lawsuit. According to the complaint, the McCoys were riding in their cars near the intersection of Bethalto and Texas boulevards in Bethalto on Sept. 24, 2007. Ferando allegedly fired multiple shots at the two men “recklessly and carelessly,” the lawsuit claims. The plaintiffs say they have suffered severe emotional distress and loss of a normal life as a result of the incident. Their first amended complaint adds “physical symptoms” to the suit's emotional distress claims. Unsell claims the plaintiff’s Facebook information shows Chad McCoy is not suffering the injuries he claims to have suffered. “It has come to the defendant’s attention that the plaintiff publicly appears that he does not suffer from PTSD, but rather, lives a fully functional and healthy life, traveling, spending time with his children, and visiting with friends and family,” Unsell wrote. “The plaintiff has posted photographs of himself on Facebook which were or still are publicly available. However, status posts, many photographs, and other interactions the plaintiff has with his Facebook 'friends' is currently private and unavailable for those who are not his friends to see. Additionally, photographs and social network information that the plaintiff has on his cell phone and personal computer are also currently private and unavailable for others to see in reference to this litigation." If Matoesian does not compel the plaintiff to turn over his cell phone and personal computer, Unsell is requesting Matoesian to compel the plaintiff to sign an authorization, allowing the defense counsel access to Chad McCoy’s private Facebook page. Ferando has denied the plaintiff’s claims in his answer to the suit. He has asked the court to throw out the suit. Ferndo admits he believed in firing his gun that he was “defending his person against the plaintiff,” but denies other remaining allegations. “Defendant admits he had a duty of care for the safety of all persons on his property but denies violating said duty,” court documents say. The McCoys are represented by Joseph Brown of Edwardsville. The case is Madison case number 09-L-306.