Surveillance Videotape Not Invasion of Privacy or Abuse of Legal Process

Posted on: June 26th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

In 2010, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a decision of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas and dismissed all claims made by a Workers’ Compensation claimant. He suffered a broken hand and an insurance investigator conducted surveillance while he was worshipping at a mosque. The Islamic center had large windows which the accident victim was adjacent to as he stood, kneeled and moved about while he prayed.

A surveillance tape was filmed from an adjacent public parking lot. The injury victim filed a lawsuit alleging an invasion of privacy and abuse of legal process. The Dauphin County Judge granted the defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment. By making a claim for personal injuries, the victim must expect reasonable inquiry and investigation to be made of his claim. Since the injury victim’s activities could be viewed by passers-by on the road, he could not expect the same degree of privacy as within a secluded private room. Tagouma v. Investigative Consultant Svcs., 4 A.3d 170 (Pa. Super. 2010)

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