Feb 042011
 
 February 4, 2011  Posted by  Court, Surveillance

Venkat Balasubramani discusses a case in Arkansas:

Miller v. Meyers, 09-cv-6103 (W.D. Ark.; Jan 21, 2011)

This case presents another fact pattern involving an increasingly common twist to the modern divorce proceeding – someone surreptitiously accesses his or her spouse’s email and on-line accounts to gather information to be used in a family law proceeding. The now ex-spouse brings a claim for violation of statutes protecting the privacy of communications. Here, the ex-spouse gets summary judgment on her Stored Communications Act claim, and the parties shortly settle after the court’s ruling.

[…]

Finally, the court rejects plaintiff’s claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, finding that defendant’s conduct was not shocking or outrageous. Here the court throws out a zinger:

Defendant’s conduct of monitoring the internet traffic on his home network and using a keylogger to access his then wife’s emails, and then using copies of those documents in divorce and custody proceedings is not extreme and outrageous conduct. A husband prying into his wife’s email, after learning that she was engaging in conversations and photo sharing, and then using damaging emails in a divorce and custody proceedings can hardly be considered “extreme and outrageous,” “beyond all possible bounds of decency,” or “utterly intolerable in a civilized society.”

Say what? I guess all is fair in love and war (including violating federal statutes), in this court’s view.

Read more on Technology & Marketing Blog.

What really  struck me about this case is how civil it all was. if this was Michigan and not Arkansas, the snooping spouse might be charged with a felony.  So what would this Arkansas judge say – that felonious behavior is neither extreme nor outrageous conduct in a marriage?

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.