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Do you understand your state’s wiretap law?


Do you understand your state’s wiretap law?

A wiretap case study in sports

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 Here’s one you don’t see everyday. According to ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers are peeved at one of their teammates, rookie D’Angelo Russell. So far, no big deal. That is, no big deal until you understand the cause of the rift. I’ll let ESPN take it from here.

Sources told ESPN.com that some teammates' trust in Russell is eroding after a video surfaced in the past week that shows Russell recording a private conversation between himself and teammate Nick Young. Young does not appear to realize he is being taped. The video, which is believed to have come to light last week via the Twitter account of a celebrity gossip site, shows Russell filming Young while asking questions about Young being with other women.

ESPN further quotes team members as describing the incident as a “prank gone wrong”. Not only is it a prank, it’s also likely illegal under California’s anti-wiretap law.

State wiretap laws come in two flavors—one-party consent and two-party consent.

  • In a one-party-consent state, as long as one of the parties being recorded is also a party to the conversation, no law has been violated.
  • In a two-party-consent state, all parties to the conversation must provide their consent to be recorded.

California, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, is a two-party-consent state. (Ohio, in case you’re curious, is a one-party state).

So, by surrupticiously recording a conversation with a teammate, D’Angelo Russell is not only a bad co-worker, he’s also law breaker.

Jon Hyman
Jon Hyman

Partner, Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis

Jon Hyman, a partner at Cleveland’s Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis, provides proactive solutions to businesses’ workplace problems. He authors the nationally recognized and multiple award winning Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, in addition to two books, Think Before You Click and The Employer Bill of Rights. Jon is an in-demand speaker, having lectured around the county on social media and other workplace legal issues. Jon offers his insight as a member of Workforce Magazine’s editorial advisory board and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce’s Employment Law Committee. Most recently, John Stossel featured Jon on an episode of his Fox Business television show. Finally, Jon appeared on a November 1999 episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, but sadly lacked the fastest fingers.

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