Man to Pay $20,000 Legal Fees For Inappropriate Surveillance Camera

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Feb 07, 2014

This man has been court ordered to pay $20,000 in legal fees over inappropriate surveillance camera use. Was it his fault? Or was it bad advice from the integrator who assisted him? Or is this simply a case of the courts being unreasonable?

In this note, we examine a court case where a regular person with a camera on his house resulted in years of legal fighting and a sizeable financial fee.

The ****

*** ******** ******* **** **** ***** *** ** * *** on *** ********. *** ********* *** *** ****** ***** *** common ***** ** *** ***********, *** **** **** ******’* *****. Neighbors **** “******* *** ********* ******* **** **** ***** ******* activities **** ***** *******,” ********* ** ***** *********. *** ***** Ranch *****’* *********** ** ******** ******, ********** *** ********* ***** a ********* ******* ***** ***** *** ********* ***** **** **** to * ********** *********.

** * ****-**** ******* ** **** **, ****, *** ******* agreed **** *****’* ****** ***** ** “************ ********** *** ******** so **** ** ***** **** *** ***** **** ******* ** [Toler's] ******** *** ****** **** *** ** *** *********' ********* [sic]." *** ********* **** *** ** **** ** *** *** problem.

* ***** *****, ********* *** ***** *** *** ***** *** steps ** ****** *** ******. ******** ******* ******** *** ***** photos **** ********* ***** ** *** ****** ******* ********* ** it.

*****, *******, *** **** *** ****** ** ******** *** ******’* field ** ****. ** ******** *** ***** **** * ******* from *** ***** **********, ***** ********, ***. ********** ********* **** on *** ****** ** “******* *** ****** ****** ******* ** south **** ****** ** ********. ********** ******** ** ****** ****** from ***°—***° *********** *** **** ** *** *****-****** ******** ****."

******* ****, *** ***** ***** **** *** ************ *** *** constitute “*********” *** **** ***** *** ******** *** ***** ** the **********. ** *** ******* ** *** ********’* ****.

Why *** ** ****?

***** ***** *** ****** ** ** ****’* ******* ** *** neighbors *******, *** *** ***** ***** ********** ** ******** *** settlement ** *** ********* *** ***** *******. *** ********** **** the ******’* ***** ** **** *** ** ** **********,***** *** ** ** ********. **'* ************ *** **** ********* the ****** ***** **** **** ** ******** *** ***** ** view.

** ******** ****, ** ***** * ****** ** ********** **** testimony **** *** **********. *** ********** **** ***** *** ********* a ******, *** ** **** *** **** **** *** ****** on * **** ****, *** **** ******* ******* * ****** would ********* **** *** ********* *******. *** ********** ********* **** instead **** **** *** **** ** ***** *** ***** ** view ** *** ******. **’* *** ***** ******* *** ********** knew *** **** ** *** ***** *** **** ** * court **********, *** ****’* ******** ********* **** ****** **** **** disclosed.

********* ******* ****** ************ “**** ** *** ***** ** *** face ** *** ********** **** *** ****** *** ** ** both ************ ********** *** ********.”

***** **** **** *** ****** ********** *** *** ** **** in *** ****** "***** ** *** ***** *******." *** ***** attorney’s **** ***** *** ******* ** ***: $**,***.

Comments (16)

Toler failed to follow the agreement. It is his reponsibility to properly interpret and apply the requirements.

He is, however, free to sue his integrator and see where that goes.

<BAM!>

Next case....

Do you think the integrator is at fault? I don't see how an integrator/installer/electrician, etc. is responsible for ensuring a technical task meets a court agreement.

As an excercise of speculation, which is all we can do since we don't know specific details, it's really up to a jury to speculate on how liable the integrator may be, which in a civil suit is subjective and not easily defined in wrtitten law. Did toler tell his integrator he just needed the PTZ restricted and the integrator did what he was supposed to do? If so, I can't see a lot of liability in that. But if he informed the integrtaor of the details of the agreement, and the integrator said something like "don't worry about shielding, we'll do this instead and it will be enough", well one could argue that then the integrator took on a certain amount of reponsinbility to ensure compliance and is reponsible to some extent, if maybe at least a refund of what Toler paid him, and in civil court you don't need "beyond a reasonable doubt".

I would have taken the PTZ down. Change it for a fixed zoom camera. Problem solved.

I guess that if it's just programming that doesn't allow the camera to move past a certain point, then why not just change the programming when you feel like peeping into your neighbors' windows? It's not like there's a record of programming changes in the PTZ, after all.

Agree. To up level, though, why is having a PTZ against the law? :)

Presumably, this is against some rule in the homeowner's association? yes/no? Anyone know if this is common?

I can't speak for that jurisdiction, but here in Quebec, because of privacy laws, there are restrictions on direct views relative to the dividing line between two properties.

Now, this applies specifically to clear glass windows and doors, but I'm sure you could argue that a PTZ shouldn't be installed in a way that it gives you a direct view onto a neighbor's property, and the fact there's zoom capability would probably make it so that it would have to be even further away, and possibly physically shielded from view altogether.

Note: 1,5 meters is approximately 5 feet.

Is there any jurisprudence about pointing telescopes or binoculars at a neighbor's private property in California?

That would probably apply to this case as well.

From the judgement:

The pole now stands as a lone piece of wood in the cold

It sounds as if the PTZ was was installed at the top of a piece of 4"x4" out in the open? Is that recommennded?

Would the autofocus work at all in adverse weather condition, with or without the shield installed?

Can this camera see anywhere where a person on the street would not be able to see?

We install cameras all over the place, with the theory that if people want privacy from a camera, then they should design privacy from passerby.

Maybe the camera was installed in a way that made it a syping eye, but then what about when the local authorities install cameras atop high poles?

"What about when the local authorities install cameras atop high poles?"

Frequently, privacy zones are programmed on the camera to block out viewing into windows / private areas.

"Frequently".

Interesting.

How frequent is it? 70% of public surveilance cases in USA, for example?

Having looked again, this section of California's Civil Code would probably apply to this particular case:

Physical & Constructive Invasions of Privacy - California Civil Code section 1708.8

(b) A person is liable for constructive invasion of privacy when the defendant attempts to capture, in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person, any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff engaging in a personal or familial activity under circumstances in which the plaintiff had a reasonable expectation of privacy, through the use of a visual or auditory enhancing device, regardless of whether there is a physical trespass, if this image, sound recording, or other physical impression could not have been achieved without a trespass unless the visual or auditory enhancing device was used.

Now the question is, should the installer have been aware of this, informed his client, and obtained proof he did in writing when the PTZ was first installed, as Marty Major pointed out in another thread? And did he?

next time we can be blindfolded when we go to the streets to prevent watching into one others backyard...

No need to do that.

As long as you're not walking around with a PTZ at the top of a pole strapped to a helmet enabling you to peer over your neigbours' six foot or higher fences and cedar hedges, you should be fine. ;)

But I'm 6'4". I see over most fences quite easily!

If that's the case, don't walk around with a PTZ strapped to your forehead. Or binoculars glued to your eyes. Otherwise, you could be at risk. ;)

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports on Legal

SimpliSafe Violating California, Florida, and Texas Licensing Laws on Aug 14, 2018
IPVM has verified that DIY security system provider SimpliSafe, founded in 2006 and acquired in June of 2018 at a billion dollar valuation, is...
Nortek Sues SDS, Battle Over Unpaid Bill and Cancelled Lines on Aug 13, 2018
Nortek and SDS legal battle continues. As IPVM reported, SDS sued Nortek alleging bribery and antitrust violation. However, Wave fired back at SDS,...
Axis / Avigilon Legal Battle Rises on Aug 09, 2018
In what is shaping up to be high-powered, will-not-back-down battle, Axis and Avigilon are squaring off in multiple legal contests. In 2017, IPVM...
Struggling Ascent Hiding Under Brinks on Aug 07, 2018
The market cap of Brinks Home Security, Monitronics, MONI, Ascent Capital Group (whatever one calls them) is down 96% over the past 5 years as the...
US Congress Passes Bill Banning Dahua and Hikvision on Aug 02, 2018
The bill banning US government use of Dahua and Hikvision products has been passed by both chambers of Congress (House vote, Senate vote). The US...
Wave Retorts: SDS 'Desperate' And 'Defeated' on Aug 01, 2018
Distributor SDS has sued Nortek and distributor Wave Electronics alleging bribery, conspiracy, antitrust violations and violations of state laws...
US SAFETY Act Examined Amid Vegas Shooting Lawsuit on Jul 25, 2018
Creating an international controversy, MGM Resorts has sued shooting victims, despite or perhaps because the Las Vegas gunman used the MGM-owned...
Bribes Alleged, Nortek Sued For Antritrust Violation on Jul 23, 2018
A case of an unhappy distributor rival or did a manufacturer accept bribes?  Nortek Security and Control has been sued by distributor Security...
Hikvision Fights Ban - Claims 'Red Scare', Hires 14 Term Ex-Congressman on Jul 11, 2018
Hikvision is fighting back against the House Bill Ban of their products. Hikvision has hired one of the biggest lobbying firms, led by a 14 term...
SIA Lobbyists Working On House Bill Ban of Dahua and Hikvision on Jul 10, 2018
While SIA is most known for ISC West, SIA maintains the industry's most significant lobbying organization to influence US government action. Last...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Chinese OEM Avycon Gets ADI Push on Aug 15, 2018
Who is Avycon? An American company? A Korean company? A couple of guys relabelling Chinese products? The latter is the best explanation. While...
Backboxes for Video Surveillance Tutorial on Aug 15, 2018
Backboxes are a necessity in surveillance, whether for managing cable whips, recessing cameras, adding wireless radios. But it can be confusing to...
Genetec Stratocast / Comcast 'Motion Insights' Examined on Aug 15, 2018
Comcast recently announced "SmartOffice Motion Insights", an extension to their Genetec OEMed cloud video service (covered by IPVM here). This...
SimpliSafe Violating California, Florida, and Texas Licensing Laws on Aug 14, 2018
IPVM has verified that DIY security system provider SimpliSafe, founded in 2006 and acquired in June of 2018 at a billion dollar valuation, is...
Ban of Dahua and Hikvision Is Now US Gov Law on Aug 13, 2018
The US President has signed the 2019 NDAA into law, banning the use of Dahua and Hikvision (and their OEMs) for the US government, for US...
Cut Milestone Licensing Costs 80% By Using Hikvision and Dahua NVRs (Tested) on Aug 13, 2018
Enterprise VMS licensing can be quite expensive, with $200 or more per channel common, meaning a 100 camera system can cost $20,000 in VMS...
Nortek Sues SDS, Battle Over Unpaid Bill and Cancelled Lines on Aug 13, 2018
Nortek and SDS legal battle continues. As IPVM reported, SDS sued Nortek alleging bribery and antitrust violation. However, Wave fired back at SDS,...
Uniview Intrusion Analytics and VMD Tested on Aug 13, 2018
IPVM's IP Camera Analytics Shootout featuring Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision created some ill will with a Uniview distributor who...
ADT Employees Protest ADT CEO on Aug 10, 2018
So many ADT employees were so upset with ADT's CEO speech reported on by IPVM, that ADT's CEO was forced to send a mass email to employees to...
Axis / Avigilon Legal Battle Rises on Aug 09, 2018
In what is shaping up to be high-powered, will-not-back-down battle, Axis and Avigilon are squaring off in multiple legal contests. In 2017, IPVM...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact