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Ask Lawrence N. Rogak, Insurance Atty You...
Lawrence N. Rogak, Insurance Atty
Lawrence N. Rogak, Insurance Atty, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1033
Experience:  26 years litigating important insurance and injury cases; well-known legal author
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My x fiance bugged my home in Fl that we jointly own, I had ...

Customer Question

My x fiance bugged my home in Fl that we jointly own, I had several people in the home at the time that were also bugged. In addition he tried to use those tapes against me and gave them to his attorney and my attorney and also let other people listen to the tapes. I am told this is a federal offence in Fl and can be prosecuted and we can all file a class action suit against him. Can you advise me of Florida laws and how to proceed with a claim against him? Thank you, Vicki
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lawrence N. Rogak, Insurance Atty replied 9 years ago.

The Federal Wiretapping Statute, found at 18 USC 2511(1)(a), makes it a crime for any person who "intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication." Violation of this statute is punishable by a fine or 5 years in prison. There are exceptions to the rule; both statutory and those created by federal caselaw.

A minority of courts have carved out a "marital home" exception to the statute, but the majority of courts have held that there is no immunity for one spouse eavesdropping on the other spouse in the home where they live.

Some states, including Florida, have stricter rules for wiretapping and eavesdropping when compared to 18 U.S.C. 2511 (2)(d), which permits taping with the consent of only one party. The Florida Statute requires the consent of all of the parties to the conversation to be obtained, not just one person. The Florida Courts have found that federal law does not preempt state law, which offers a greater privacy protection.

In addition, Florida does not recognize inter-spousal immunity in violations of the eavesdropping statute. The Florida Supreme Court held that "Eavesdropping, by nature, undermines the faith and trust upon which the institution of marriage is founded. A rule of law which leaves such repugnant behavior unsanctioned can hardly be said to preserve the marital unit. Moreover, the doctrine of inter-spousal tort immunity, if applied in the instant case, would result in an inequitable operation of this statute." Burgess v. Burgess, 447 So. 2d 220.

So yes, you can sue him for damages.