Q: I have been a caregiver for this family for two years and recently found out they have cameras in some if not all bathrooms and are recording our conversations. They have repeated things I’ve said and have commented on things I have done. Can I sue for violation of privacy? (Greenfield, PA)
A: Pennsylvania laws on wiretapping make it a crime to audio record another person without that person’s consent. Video recording with visible cameras is not a crime in Pennsylvania. It is not unusual for caretakers, from daycare to elder caretakers, to be subject to video recording. Normally, the cameras are visible and known or the caretakers have been informed of them. The two things that concern me are that you say you just found out after two years and the cameras are in the bathroom. You may have an invasion of privacy issue and therefore a consultation with a lawyer who handles such cases may be advisable. If the cameras in the bathrooms are filming private matters and you have proof that you were audio recorded without your knowledge, you may have a criminal case in which case you would call the police as a first step.
Q: I let my friend use my jeep and he does not have a license. He and a licensed driver switched seats before the police were able to get behind the jeep. The officer says he saw the switch. There is no video evidence it. It is two people’s word against the police officer. Is there any hope of fighting the ticket and winning?
A: In most states there does not have to be video in order for probable cause to be supported or an arrest to be legal. Some progressive departments routinely use it and I understand even a few have a policy in place. Unless this police department routinely uses video in traffic stops or has a policy to do so, and for some unexplained reason, this officer did not use the camera, the officer’s word may likely be believed over your friends, by a judge or jury. However, if your attorney can establish other evidence through skillful cross examination, for example, the officer wasn’t in position to make the observation, there are discrepancies in the police report, etc., who knows, your friend may be able to establish reasonable doubt. He should review this situation with an attorney. One thing you need to be aware of is that you can be cited for lending an automobile to someone who you know does not have a valid license. You therefore should not make any statements to the police.