You may not realize it, but, in Florida, you can sue someone for recording a conversation without permission (or, alternatively, if you record a conversation, you can be sued).
What recordings are subject to litigation?
- 934.03. Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications prohibited
- 934.04. Manufacture, distribution, or possession of wire, oral, or electronic communication intercepting devices prohibited
- 934.05. Confiscation of wire, oral, or electronic communication intercepting devices
- 934.06. Prohibition of use as evidence of intercepted wire or oral communications; exception
- 934.07. Authorization for interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications
- 934.08. Authorization for disclosure and use of intercepted wire, oral, or electronic communications
- 934.09. Procedure for interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications
Each one of these statutes is lengthy, and many have their own exceptions. As such, the question, “when can you sue someone for recording a conversation” cannot be answered neatly in one blog post. However, here are a couple of hypothetical situations where someone may be susceptible to a lawsuit:
- A company that secretly monitors telephones to prevent its employees’ misconduct may subject itself to lawsuits if it does not obtain the employees’ permission first. If you are an employer and plan to record your employees’ telephone calls, it’s probably a good idea to get written consent before doing so.
- A husband or wife secretly recording the conversations of his or her spouse may be subject to litigation. In 1984 the Florida Supreme Court found that the doctrine of interspousal tort immunity does not bar a civil action against a spouse under Section 934.10. Burgess v. Burgess, 447 So. 2d 220, 221 (Fla. 1984).
When can you *not* sue someone for recording a conversation?
- No civil cause of action exists where the interception was only attempted. Stalley v. ADS Alliance Data Systems, Inc., 296 F.R.D. 670 (M.D. Fla. 2013)
- Where silent video images of doctors were recorded by hidden surveillance cameras, it was not a violation because the doctors’ physical conduct recorded on silent videotapes did not convey the substance of a particular communication. Minotty v. Baudo, (Fla. 4th DCA 2010).
- Someone who made statements at an aborted deposition, knowing that he was being recorded and after objecting to recording, did not have a cause of action because under those circumstances lacked the expectation of privacy required under statute. Williams v. Carney, 157 Fed.Appx. 103, 2005 WL 2662550 (11th Cir. 2005)
Overall, its complicated, and each situation is different, where the outcome can be different depending on the unique facts and situations.