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Network pays out $900,000 in hidden camera claim

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  1. Libel and Privacy

    NMU         CALIFORNIA         Privacy         Feb 23, 2000    

Network pays out $900,000 in hidden camera claim

  • A hidden camera carried by an undercover reporter into a workplace created liability for invasion of privacy under a prior jury award and a recent California Supreme Court ruling.

ABC paid more than $900,000 in early February after a 1994 jury award to former Psychic Service Network employee Mark Sanders, and a recent confirmation of the legal viability of Sanders’ claim by the state’s highest court, according to the Associated Press.

In 1993, ABC reporter Stacy Lescht secretly videotaped conversations with Sanders as part of an undercover investigation of fraud in the “telepsychic” industry.

California’s highest court has held that Sanders was not barred from asserting an invasion of privacy claim against ABC, despite the fact that the conversations were not considered confidential by the participants and were not kept private from coworkers. A jury award of compensatory and punitive damages against ABC was upheld, and ABC was ordered to pay Sanders $335,000 in compensatory damages and $300,000 in punitive damages.

(Sanders v. American Broadcasting Cos., Inc.; Media Counsel: Andrew White, Los Angeles)

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