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Saturday, February 25, 2012

RadioShack Stung in Privacy Suit

Say it ain't so.  RadioShack may have hacked.

In an interesting privacy rights law suit being prosecuted right here in Detroit, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Radio Shack just lost its motion for Rule 12b(6) summary judgment. 
The case, pending before Judge Victoria Roberts, now heads to trial.

The claim is that a RadioShack customer purchased a new cell phone and had his data transferred at a RadioShack store; the old phone was to be recycled.  A RadioShack employee allegedly accessed the images on the customer's old phone, saw some apparently objectionable pics from the customer taken at his place of employment, and in a "Big Brother"-like maneuver, sent the pics to the customer's employer.

The customer was fired and he is now suing RadioShack for violating his right to privacy and for breach of RadioShack's own cell phone disposal privacy policy.

Noting that very little discovery has been conducted in the case, chastizing RadioShack's counsel for raising two seminal "sufficiency-of-the-pleadings" cases in a reply brief, and intimating that questions of fact for a jury may exist, the Court denied RadioShack's motion for summary judgment.  The complete order is here.

One of the fact questions spotted by Judge Roberts was the scope of the consent the customer may have given to the store in accessing his images on his old cell phone. 

Imagine going into a RadioShack outlet to simply transfer your cell phone data [i.e. your digital life as you know it] to a new phone, and you wind-up getting fired because some entry level employee decides to police the content of your data, and forward selected portions of that data to your employer.  My guess is that this case will probably settle, and confidentially. 

In my humble yet professional opinion, RadioShack has some significant exposure on this claim.  At least they would if I was on the jury.

If you think your right to privacy has been compromised on-line and would like a free consultation to assess your potential claim, contact our law firm.

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