Miami, FL | April 5, 2021 – Stumphauzer, Foslid, Sloman, Ross, and Kolaya’s Ian Ross was quoted in a Daily Business Review article on a rise in the filing of privacy class actions involving allegations of wiretapping and privacy tech violations.
Class Action Trend: Suit Against ADT Reflects Growing Litigation Over Privacy
In some instances, the technician would take note of homes that had attractive women, then repeatedly logged into these customers’ accounts to view their footage for sexual gratification, according to court pleadings.
By Michael A. Mora | April 05, 2021
In federal court, a Texas lawyer accused a company that has previously claimed to be “No. 1 in smart home security” of failing to secure its own systems from its employees, who allegedly intruded on customers’ personal lives.
Matthew McCartney, a partner at Fears Nachawati in Dallas, has filed a class action on behalf of Randy Doty against ADT LLC, also known as ADT Security Services, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
McCartney said the case is part of a larger trend of privacy class actions against companies, such as Ring LLC, in which a man started speaking to an 8-year-old girl through the camera system in her room, repeatedly calling her a racial slur while claiming to be Santa Claus.
“There are companies out there, specifically companies that profess to be providing safety and security for people, and they are actually doing just the opposite,” McCartney said. “They just don’t have either the infrastructure built internally, or the desire or the know-how to protect their customers from these types of breaches of privacy.”
In this case, the dispute is related to the actions of a former ADT technician, 35-year-old Telesforo Aviles, who worked for the company for more than seven years.
Aviles, who pleaded guilty to hacking home security footage, routinely added his personal email address to customers’ “ADT Pulse” accounts, in which he gave himself real-time access to the video feeds from their homes, according to the complaint.
In some instances, Aviles would take note of homes that had attractive women, then repeatedly logged into these customers’ accounts to view their footage for sexual gratification, according to court documents.
“We don’t believe this is an isolated incident,” McCartney said. “We have information that leads us to believe this is a problem across the country. We are suing them because they failed to put in safety protocols that would prevent third parties, including technicians, from gaining access to their homes.”
Now, pending mediation set for near the end of April, the complaint will go before U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon. And McCartney said hesitance on ADT’s part in complying with discovery requests is a challenge for the Dallas attorney in pursuing similar claims in other states, such as California.
Nationwide, the Boca Raton-based home security company has approximately 6 million customers.
What’s privacy worth?
Paul Wiseman, the head of corporate communications and consumer media at ADT, did not respond to a request seeking comment. In a similar lawsuit filed last year in the Dallas area, ADT said in a statement it took immediate action to prevent this type of breach from happening again.
ADT has previously offered to pay customers a settlement, or offered the victims discounts on future services, McCartney said.
Ian M. Ross, a partner at Stumphauzer Foslid Sloman Ross & Kolaya in Miami, who is not involved in the litigation, said in data privacy class actions, damages are often based on the alleged loss of the intrinsic value of privacy.
Here, the cause of action included negligence, intrusion on seclusion, and privacy monitoring, according to the complaint.
“We’re seeing a significant rise in the filing of privacy class actions, whether they’re wiretapping cases or a privacy tech case,” Ross said. “This is one of the hottest areas of class action litigation.”
Copyright 2021. ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved.
The article is available on the following link: https://www.law.com/dailybusinessreview/2021/04/05/class-action-trend-suit-against-adt-reflects-growing-litigation-over-privacy/
About Stumphauzer Foslid Sloman Ross & Kolaya, PLLC
Stumphauzer Foslid Sloman Ross & Kolaya, PLLC (SFS) is a boutique full-service litigation firm based in Miami, Florida, that focuses on civil litigation, government regulatory enforcement matters, white collar criminal litigation, internal investigations, and whistleblower suits. The SFS lawyers litigate large, high-stakes or bet-the-company cases, but its attorneys take immense pride in their ability to efficiently handle disputes of all sizes. The firm is comprised of former BigLaw partners and high-ranking federal prosecutors, including the former chair of the Miami litigation practice of one of the largest law firms in the world and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Colleagues, clients, and legal observers recognize the SFS lawyers as experts and leaders in their respective fields of practice. The firm and its lawyers have been recognized in Chambers & Partners, The Legal 500 United States, The Best Lawyers in America, Florida Super Lawyers, Florida’s Legal Elite, and U.S. News – Best Lawyers. For more information, visit http://www.sfslaw.com.