In 2006, Eric Sedie of Corte Madera,California,suffered injuries in a crash with a U.S. Postal Service truck. In 2008 he suedthe Postal Service for $2.5 million, claiming that because of his injuries,every aspect of his life “has been and will be affected until the day he dies”.He claimed the activities that he couldn’t engage in any longer due to hisinjuries from the accident included bicycling, painting, and any vigorousactivity.
Last week, a federal magistrate judge awarded Sedie only alittle over $297,000 instead of the $2.5 million he asked for. The judge didn’tbelieve his claims of personal injury and believed his testimony was full ofinconsistencies and exaggeration.
Why? In part because of a June 2007 MySpace posting “in which he describedpainting as a frustrating activity when his arm hairs would get caught inpaint.” Although he claimed to be joking, the court didn’t think so. The courtalso found inconsistencies in Facebook postings, surveillance videos andtestimony from expert witnesses.
Obviously,it was not a wise decision for Sedie to claim he was unable to pursueactivities such as painting and then to post personal anecdotes about himselfpainting in public forums. Such comments make easy fodder for defenseattorneys, and can have a huge impact on a legal case.