Attorneys Protecting Your Right to Privacy Under California Law
Today’s consumers are accustomed to hearing warnings that our telephone conversations may be recorded. Whether it’s you calling the cable company or a debt collector calling you, you probably expect to hear something like, “This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes,” or words to that effect.
What you may not know is that here in California it is a crime to record someone without their consent. Under the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA), it is illegal to record conversations, including telephone conversations, unless everyone involved in the conversation consents. If someone violates CIPA, it essentially amounts to wiretapping, and the person who recorded the conversation can face:
- Jail; and
- A civil lawsuit.
At the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C., our Los Angeles attorneys handle civil lawsuits involving invasions of privacy. We are deeply familiar with all the rules of the California Invasion of Privacy Act and we fight aggressively to recover compensation through the courts for any consumer whose privacy rights were violated.
How Do You Know if a Conversation Was Illegally Recorded?
It can be a challenge to know whether a conversation has been recorded if the business or person doing the recording does not say so. As a consumer, at the beginning of any call, you can ask if you are being recorded. Some companies will turn off the recording if you ask them to do so.
Others will refuse to stop recording. Currently, California law is not entirely clear on whether you can bring a civil case against someone who refuses your request to stop recording.
Illegally taped phone calls are often discovered during a consumer’s separate lawsuit against a company. For example, when you are suing a debt collector for harassment or suing someone over unwanted automated phone calls or texts, you may discover that the defendant had been recording your calls without your consent.
Recovering Compensation in Civil Lawsuits Under CIPA
As mentioned above, there are criminal aspects to CIPA. Those are handled by law enforcement and the criminal courts. If you believe your telephone conversation was illegally recorded, you should speak with your local police department, or consult with our attorneys and we can advise you before you speak to the police.
The California Invasion of Privacy Act also provides consumers with the right to file civil lawsuits against those who illegally record conversations. In order to prevail in such a lawsuit, you will need to prove the following:
- Someone intentionally used an electronic device to eavesdrop or record a conversation;
- You had a reasonable expectation that the conversation was not being recorded or overheard;
- The defendant failed to obtain the consent of all the parties to record the conversation;
- You were harmed; and
- The harm was caused by the defendant.
What Compensation Is Available in a CIPA Lawsuit?
A successful invasion of privacy lawsuit will require the violator to pay statutory penalties to you. The current penalties are the greater of:
- $5,000 for each illegally recorded call; or
- Three times the amount of actual damages you suffered.
What if the Caller Was Not in California?
You have the right to file an invasion of privacy lawsuit even if the person who illegally recorded you was in another state. As long as you lived in California when the call took place, you have the right to sue.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Invasion of Privacy Lawsuits in California?
You must file your CIPA civil lawsuit within one year of the date of the phone call.
Contact a Los Angeles Invasion of Privacy Attorney Today
If you have reason to believe someone recorded your telephone call without your consent, speak to a lawyer at the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C. as soon as possible. We can help you navigate the process of talking to the police, and then fight for compensation for you in civil court. You can reach us at 1-877-619-8966 or schedule a meeting online.