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Facebook Photos Doomed Workers’ Comp Claim

(CN) - A retailer and its insurance company properly used pictures of a worker drinking and partying to fight claims that he deserved workers' compensation for a hernia, the Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled.

Zackery Clement was injured in 2009 when the refrigerator he was moving fell on him.

Johnson's Warehouse Showroom and National Union Fire Insurance paid for Clement's medical expenses and about two years worth of temporary disability benefits.

After Clement asked for coverage for additional medical treatment for his hernia and a back injury, however, an administrative law judge and the state workers' compensation commission declined his request.

On appeal, Clement said the previous proceedings should not have considered pictures of him that appeared on Facebook and MySpace. Though Clement claimed he was in excruciating pain, the photos showed him drinking and partying.

Clement called their admission into evidence a "disgrace to the dignity of the workers' compensation proceedings and the legal system."

The appeals court disagreed.

"We find no abuse of discretion in the allowance of the photographs," Judge David Glover wrote for the court.

"Certainly, these pictures could have a bearing on Clement's credibility, albeit a negative effect that Clement might not wish to be demonstrated to the administrative law judge or the commission," he added.

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