George Socha, Reveal: Testing the Efficacy of Image Labeling

Extract from George Socha’s article “Testing the Efficacy of Image Labeling”

With a picture worth a thousand words, a single image can change the course of a lawsuit.

A man claims injuries prevent him for lifting more than 5 pounds. A photograph snapped by a private investigator lurking nearby shows him hoisting a 20-pound box delivered to his front step.

Another plaintiff alleges lower-back soft-tissue injuries making it too painful to raise his arms to shoulder level. A photo run in a local newspaper shows him sporting a gold medal from a weight-lifting competition.

A third plaintiff sues an ATV manufacturer asserting products liability causes of action. A picture taken by our vehicle inspector shows another company’s logo on the three-wheeler’s gasoline tank.

Those were three of my cases. I am sure many litigators have similar stories.

Time was, each of we kept only a small number of carefully curated photographs, often dated, labeled, and pasted into albums. Now, most of us are digital archivists with tens or even hundreds of thousands of photographs kept on our phones, posted to social media, hosted in the cloud, and stored on tucked-away hard drives – and most of them not organized in any fashion.

That means that when a new case comes in the door, both your client and the other side potentially have access to tens or hundreds of thousands of images. Some of them may be relevant. A few could be dispositive.

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