District Court finds intrusion upon seclusion and invasion of privacy claims survive summary judgment when defendant (allegedly) places GPS device on plaintiff’s car.

Breakups are hard. In this lawsuit, a lawyer sued for various torts a couple of companies that he worked or provided services for. The defendants are companies that provide computer security, administrative software, and cybersecurity services. The fight started when the plaintiff’s services were discontinued after he allegedly witnessed sexual harassment at the company.

Hostilities increased between the parties so much that one of the defendant companies hired a private investigator to put a GPS tracker on the plaintiff’s car. The lawsuit raises a number of issues, but the one relevant for our purposes here is a claim for invasion of privacy based on the allegation that the defendants had detectives use long-range parabolic microphones to listen in on personal conversations and put a tracking device on his car. Plaintiff claims these violations give him a private right of action for eavesdropping, invasion of privacy and unlawful electronic surveillance.

The District Court decided, in part based on United States v. Jones as well as Carpenter that this claim survives summary judgment. This is true for a intrusion-upon-seclusion claim based on the GPS tracking device because Jones means to the District Court that the plaintiff had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his daily movements in his car.

The case is Ringelberg v. Vanguard Integrity Professionals-Nevada, Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203835, 2018 WL 6308737 (D. Nev.) December 3, 2018.

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