Firm Scores $275,000 for Employee Whose Employer Snooped Through Personal Email| Monday, March 23, 2015
In 2014, the East Whittier City School District in California was sued for violating various federal and state anti-wiretapping laws and for invading the privacy of a teacher while he was on administrative leave. The complaint alleged that the School District logged into the teacher’s personal email and Facebook accounts using passwords that had been inadvertently stored on the teacher’s school-administered laptop, viewed his private communications with his attorney, union representative, friends and family.
Kronenberger Rosenfeld, a San Francisco-based law firm, filed a lawsuit on the teacher’s behalf, asserting claims under the federal Wiretap Act, the federal Stored Communications Act, California state counterparts, and a claim for invasion of privacy. The Complaint alleged that the unauthorized access took place over a period of six months, after which the School District presented the plaintiff with printed versions of his own private emails in the course of discovery in a separate unlawful termination lawsuit.
On March 13, the firm obtained a $275,000 judgment against the School District on behalf of the plaintiff.
“This judgment demonstrates how the highly personal nature of email makes any sort of email hacking or snooping through personal messages a serious breach of the personal privacy of the email account owner,” commented firm partner, Karl Kronenberger.
Brautigam v. East Whittier City School District, et al., Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles (Case No. BC541803)