BoE wins dismissal of Starr’s Mill student’s lawsuit about use of Facebook photo

A former Starr’s Mill High School student’s lawsuit against the Fayette County Board of Education over the use of a Facebook photo she posted has been dismissed in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten ruled that because plaintiff Chelsea Chaney posted it to her Facebook page, thus allowing others access to it, she had no reasonable expectation of privacy under federal law.

The photo was displayed in a PowerPoint presentation at a community awareness seminar held by the school system in October 2011, and that particular slide in the presentation used her full name as well, according to the lawsuit. The photo depicts a bikini-clad Chaney standing next to a life-size photo of the rapper known as “Snoop Dogg.”

While dismissing the lawsuit against the school system, it will remain intact for now in a personal capacity against the school system employee who prepared the PowerPoint presentation, Director of Technology Curt Cearley, who had not filed a motion to dismiss the case, according to Batten’s ruling.

The lawsuit claimed that the school system and Cearley violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from illegal search and seizure along with her Fourteenth Amendment right to privacy.

Judge Batten ruled that Chaney’s profile privacy setting at the time was set to “friends of friends” and thus made per page available to “potentially hundreds, if not thousands, of people whom she did not know.” As such, Chaney’s Fourth Amendment claim could not be sustained, Batten wrote.

Because Chaney voluntarily gave the photo to her Facebook friends, she had no legitimate expectation of privacy according to federal law, Batten ruled.

mrobinson_ptc's picture
Joined: 05/21/2013
Gee, I wonder if WSB will follow up...

...doubtful. Go away, publicity seeker.

skarfy's picture
Joined: 03/31/2009
Justice prevails...

Sweetheart, if you don't want any buyers, don't advertise. The social media generation has to learn this just like we old folks did...

Husband and Fat...
Husband and Father of 2's picture
Joined: 07/23/2012

The tech guy made a poor decision and should be reprimanded. He apologized soon after, learned his lesson and we can move on.

The young lady learned a valuable lesson about posting her business on line. She was embarrassed. So what. Didn't we all do stupid things at that age?

The parents on the other hand, I just don't understand. Were they embarrassed and sued to get even? Or were they manipulated by princess to save her "reputation"? Everything blew over and the young lady took part in a pageant a few weeks later, so where was the damage? I also question the parents thought process allowing an adult friend of the family to take a photo of their bikini clad daughter in the first place. That's just creepy.

ImFedUp's picture
Joined: 10/07/2010
Hmmm ... Just wondering

I wonder what the FCBOE's total cost was of defending Mr. Cearly and his "poor decision." Inquiring minds want to know!

Husband and Fat...
Husband and Father of 2's picture
Joined: 07/23/2012
A lot less

Than the $2M the young lady wanted for "embarrassment".

NUK_1's picture
Joined: 12/17/2007
I'm humiliated for my public stuff ,says teen!

Just throw some beads at Mardi Gras next year to Chelsea/Chastity/Cherry or whatever her name is and she will be happy and you might get a brief show too.

Yeah, IT guy used bad judgment here, but that lawsuit is ludicrous. So is hanging him for making a mistake. This is a good lesson of what you DON'T put online yourself for teens and we'll see if maybe some get the message. Sort of doubt it, not as long as you have teens with sue-happy and oblivious "parents."

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
Joined: 10/26/2005
Oddly enough, some random maturity is breaking out

among some teens and 20-somethings about Facebook. Some have discovered that posting endless photos or tweeting every detail of your daily life creates a lack of privacy that they don't like - so their solution is to stop doing it. Wow! How about that? Never thought I'd see that happen in the slacker generation, but I'm sure glad it is. Maybe that is why Facebook stock offering tanked -real investors didn't see a real product.

yeahwhatever's picture
Joined: 08/09/2008

It was an incredibly poor decision by the BOE to allow it. Wrong on many levels whether legal or not. They should be ashamed of their actions and all deserve to be humiliated in a like manner for their stupidity.

AtHomeGym's picture
Joined: 01/18/2007
Whatever & BOE

So just where does one find where the BOE "allowed" this to happen?

SPQR's picture
Joined: 12/15/2007
don't you mean

don't you mean her stupidity?

The Mole
The Mole's picture
Joined: 07/13/2010
Director of Technology????

If this had been any other employee, they would have been toast. I hope he is paying the lawyer out of his pockets.

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