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

GDPR For Video Surveillance Guide on Apr 12, 2018
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on May 25, but there is much confusion and no clear guidelines on...
Audio Usage In Video Surveillance Statistics on Mar 28, 2018
Audio is more widely available and easier to use than ever, with many IP cameras building audio in and often making integration as simple as...
Axis Wins, Arecont Cancels Multi-Imager Patent on Feb 26, 2018
16 months after Arecont publicly threatened Axis and 7 months after Axis took Arecont to patent 'court', Axis has won, with Arecont canceling all...
The Interceptor Aims To Fix Vulnerability In Millions of Alarm Systems on Jan 08, 2018
Security executive Jeffery Zwirn claims a 'catastrophic' flaw exists in 'millions of alarm systems', and dealers could be liable if not fixed. The...
Chinese Government Attacks Western Reports on Jan 03, 2018
The Chinese government is angry at the BBC and WSJ's reporting on Chinese video surveillance (see BBC Features Dahua and WSJ Investigates China's...
Axis and Arecont Legal Conflict Over Multi-Imager Cameras on Aug 17, 2017
Arecont threatened Axis. Axis has responded by moving to invalidate an Arecont patent. It is an important contest. Multi-imagers are Arecont's...
IP Camera Specification / RFP Guide 2017 on Aug 14, 2017
RFPs are hard. Do them 'right' and it takes a lot of knowledge and time. Do them 'wrong' and you can be (a) unwittingly locked into a specific...
Canon Sues Avigilon on Jul 27, 2017
Canon, owner of Axis and Milestone, has sued Avigilon for patent infringement in US court. This is a highly atypical move for Canon, pitting 3 of...
Milestone Beats OnSSI In Court on Jul 17, 2017
The litigation between former partners Milestone and OnSSI has finished, confirmed by both parties. In April 2016, OnSSI sued Milestone and in...
Manufacturers Shipping Unlicensed H.265 Products on Jun 22, 2017
While H.265 support in video surveillance is growing, IPVM's research shows that most surveillance manufacturers are shipping H.265 products with...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Last Chance - April 2018 IP Networking Course on Apr 19, 2018
Today is the last day to register for our IP Networking course. Register now. NEW - 2 sessions per class, 'day' and 'night' to give you double...
Rare Video Surveillance Fundraising - Verkada $15 Million on Apr 19, 2018
Fundraising in video surveillance (and the broader physical security market) has been poor recently. Highlights are few and far in between...
'Best In Show' Fails on Apr 19, 2018
ISC West's "Best In Show" has failed. For more than a decade, it has become increasingly irrelevant as the selections exhibit a cartoon level...
Security Camera Cleaning Frequency Statistics on Apr 18, 2018
150+ integrators told IPVM how often they clean cameras on customer's sites and why.  Inside we examine their answers and break down feedback...
Worst Access Control 2018 on Apr 18, 2018
Three access control providers stood out as providing the most problems for integrators. In this report, we analyze the answers to: "In the...
Axis VMD4 Analytics Tested on Apr 17, 2018
Axis is now on its 4th generation of video motion detection (VMD), which Axis calls "a free video analytics application." In this generation, Axis...
Arecont CEO And President Resign on Apr 17, 2018
This is good news for Arecont. Arecont's problems have been well known for years (e.g., most recently Worst Camera Manufacturers 2018 and starting...
Strong ISC West 2018, Says Manufacturers, GSX / ASIS Expected Weaker on Apr 17, 2018
Manufacturers say ISC West 2018 was strong, continuing the trend we have seen in 2017 results and 2016 results. However, those same 100...
Key Control For Access Control Tutorial on Apr 16, 2018
End users spend thousands on advanced systems to keep themselves secure, but regularly neglect one of the lest expensive yet most important aspects...
Best and Worst ISC West 2018 on Apr 16, 2018
ISC West 2018 had strong attendance, modest overall new products, and a surge in Artificial Intelligence marketing. First, here are 20+...

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