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NavigatorIn recent years, the increasing use and sophistication of Internet sites has had important effects on personal injury litigation. Perhaps most significantly, materials on a party’s Facebook account are now, under certain instances, discoverable—whether the account holder believed the postings to be available to the public or not. See Forman v. Henkin, 30 N.Y.2d 656 (2018). An adversary’s Facebook materials are now, in many cases, a potent part of the practitioner’s arsenal in litigating a personal injury case. A recent bill has made Internet mapping services like Google Maps a part of that arsenal as well. On Dec. 28, 2018, Governor Cuomo signed an amendment to CPLR 4511, which made the information available from Google Maps and similar services a presumptively proper subject of judicial notice. In this column, we will discuss the meaning and effect of this extremely important provision.

The Legislature’s Enactment of the Amendment to CPLR 4511. The bill was sponsored in the New York State Senate by Sen. Michael Gianaris. The memorandum he submitted in support of the legislation stated that its purpose was to “allow judicial notice of google maps and other web mapping or global imaging websites.” As the memorandum noted, web mapping services are a convenient and generally reliable source of information, and their use in litigation can realize important efficiencies for the courts. The memorandum explained: “Google Maps is a tool that can be used by the courts to fairly resolve cases in a timely manner. Allowing a judge to take judicial notice of a satellite image, location, distance, or other information using Google Maps would relieve the parties from having to otherwise prove the information evidenced in the image or map.”

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