California passed its Invasion of Privacy (CIPA) law in 1967. In its current version, among other things, it forbids the intentional recording of all communications involving cellular and cordless telephones, whether they are confidential or not. The consent of both parties to such a call must be obtained before a call can be legally recorded. The complaint for this class action alleges that American Medical Response, Inc. (AMR) recorded calls with consumers without first getting their permission.
The class for this action is all persons in California whose cell phone conversations were recorded without their consent by AMR or its agents between July 1, 2018 and July 1, 2019.
Section 632.7(a) of the California Penal Code says, “Every person who, without the consent of all parties to a communication, intercepts or receives and intentionally records, or assists in the interception or reception and intentional recordation of, a communication transmitted between two cellular radio telephones, a cellular radio telephone and a landline telephone, two cordless telephones, a cordless telephone and a landline telephone, or a cordless telephone and a cellular radio telephone” violates this section of the law.
The law permits statutory damages of up to $5,000 for each violation.
On November 12, 2018, AMR called plaintiff Michael Mendell on his cell phone. The complaint claims that the company “records all of its outbound and inbound telephonic conversations.”
During the conversation, the complaint claims, AMR’s representative discussed with Mendell his personal information, including his alleged financial obligations, his medical insurance, and his legal representation. The complaint claims that the “agent was insistent, threatening, and spoke aggressively towards” Mendell.
According to the complaint, at no time did AMR’s representative tell Mendell that the call was being recorded, and at no point did Mendell agree to any such recording.
A few days later, on November 15, the company called him again. Mendell told the representative that he had an attorney and was filing for bankruptcy. The representative then threatened to call Mendell’s employer. Again, the complaint says, the representative made no mention of recording the call.
Later, the complaint says, Mendell’s attorney called AMR and was told that “all calls are recorded.” But the complaint says that that was never disclosed to Mendell before or during the calls to him.
The complaint alleges, first of all, knowing or willful illegal recording of cell phone conversations, and also negligence and invasion of privacy.