Family Sues Facebook over Photo Posted by EMT

Remember New York city EMT Mark Musarella, who posted a scene photo of a murder victim on Facebook in May of 2009? The Richmond University Medical Center fired Musarella the day after he posted the photo, his EMT certification was revoked, he pled guilty to a criminal offense of official misconduct, and was ordered to do 200 hours of community service.

The case is in the news again because the parents of murder victim Caroline Wimmer filed a civil  suit on March 25, 2011 against Musarella, Richmond University Medical Center, the FDNY Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano, FDNY,   Facebook, Greenleaf Arms – the West Brighton complex where Ms. Wimmer was slain, and Calvin Lawson, the man convicted of her murder.

Martha and Ronald Wimmer are seeking unspecified monetary compensation from all the defendants except for Facebook, against whom they are seeking a court order to delete the photo from its servers, and disclose information about who looked at or downloaded the photo. The lawsuit is also seeking a court mandate that Facebook cooperate with victims in the future.

Here is a link to an excellent CNN video covering the story. The story goes on to discuss the possibility of a new law being introduced in New York to be called Caroline’s Law, that will make it a felony for emergency personnel to post crime scene imagery on the internet.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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